“I believe that the horrifying deterioration in the ethical conduct of people today stems from the mechanization and dehumanization of our lives—a disastrous by-product of the development of the scientific and technical mentality. We are guilty. Humankind grows cold faster than the planet they inhabit.” ~ Albert Einstein
Wouldn’t you agree? That most people, if asked, would say they are not racist or for injustice. They would say that everybody should have equal rights and experience God’s love. The problem with this sentiment is that it’s not true because we can’t love and serve what we don’t see! Humans gravitate to their own kind and ignore those who don’t look or live like them. The only way to avoid someone long enough when we hear their cries for help and justice is to turn a deaf ear, turn a blind eye, create division, or dehumanize them altogether. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us behave this way and have done so our entire lives. If we don’t see them, then they’re not there; out of sight equals out of mind.
Over the last few centuries, technology and innovation have increasingly fueled this world problem. We bury our faces in smart devices, computers, video games, and in front of our TVs—spending and wasting countless hours each week looking at screens. We all suffer from the delusion that our world has expanded due to technology, but the opposite is true. Indeed, information, awareness, and industrialism have all increased, but so has self-isolation.
The creation of television, air conditioning, the internet, and attached garages with electric openers, have caused us to live in solitude and become detached from our surroundings. We can’t love and serve what we don’t see! A person can drive into their subdivision, passing hundreds of homes along the way, and never talk to anyone. You enter the subdivision, click the garage door opener, pull into your garage, close the garage door, and never see a soul. Most people have no idea who their neighbors are. Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves, but how is this possible if we never see our neighbors? We can’t love and serve what we don’t see!
Because of the worldwide web and the massive amount of harmful, pathetic, and fake news launched upon us every day of our lives, nobody trusts anyone anymore. When I was a kid, the kids in the neighborhood would play outside until dark and ride our bikes miles from home without egg-shaped plastic helmets on our heads. Today parents rarely allow their children out of their sight and even put tracking devices on their phones. Kids spend countless hours playing video games in the comfort of their bedrooms, and the entire family lives in total isolation inside their home. When I was a kid, my mom would often say go outside and don’t come home until dark. There were no video games, just imagination, mischief, and fun times with each other. We can’t love and serve what we don’t see!
Thankfully, God hears the cries of the people and knows their needs. (Exodus 22:21-27 NRSV) God loves and serves the oppressed and marginalized because God knows who they are and where they are. If we claim to believe in a God of love and have the heart of God, then we should know who the oppressed and marginalized are in our communities, hear their cries, and actively provide love and service. God calls us to live a life of love and service. We can’t love and serve what we don’t see! When will we step away from our isolated lives, come to know our neighbors, understand their needs, and start loving them like ourselves in the same manner God does and instructs us to do?
God of love and service, thank You for exemplifying Your heart and character through Your Son Jesus. Jesus modeled for the world what a life committed to love, and service should resemble. Please remove the extreme self-centeredness that consumes my life, and give me the willingness and courage to know my neighbor, hear their cries, understand their needs, and grow to love and serve every one of them. In Your Spirit and Name, I pray these things. May Your will not mine always materialize, now and forever. Amen.