“I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy.
It’s not giving a damn.”
Author Leo Buscaglia
There are times when we won’t desire God.
It’s not just you. It’s me too. And I’m a pastor. Apathy is to pastor what incompetence is to teacher is what Keanu Reeves is to acting. They shouldn’t go together. But sometimes they do. And that’s unfortunate.
Apathy (a – without/not, pathos – emotion) is literally translated “without feeling.”
Picture God in your mind. What do you see? And what’s your response to what you see? Apathy responds with a disinterested “meh.” There’s no excitement, no joy, no love, no feeling, no nothing.
In such moments, what do we do?
Before answering that question, consider this: God has never been apathetic toward himself.
Have you ever thought about that?
God’s thoughts about himself always result in passion and joy. In all eternity past, he’s always had strong feelings of love for himself. He’s never been without passion for who he is.
How different I am. It’s easy to be apathetic about some part of me. My thoughts? Meh. My looks? Meh. My heart? Meh. My choices? Meh.
Is that ever true about how you view yourself?
But it’s never true of God.
Nor is any person of the triune Godhead ever without passion (i.e. apathetic) for the others. This means the Father has never once tired of loving the Son. And the Son has never wearied in loving the Father. There’s never been a time when God the Spirit has grumbled toward Father or Son. There’s been no apathy. Ever.
And it’s not just that God has loving feelings about himself. It’s that God is love.
To be God is to be passionate. He is strong desire. He is feeling. Love is who he is deep within his character.
So it seems accurate to contrast God and apathy. They appear to be polar opposites just like the opening quote suggests.
What does this mean for us? If it’s inevitable that we’ll feel “meh” towards God, what should we do?
#1 – Recognize God for who he is. God knows himself perfectly and there is ZERO apathy. God is love. He is not without feeling. He is never apathetic about himself.
#2 – See his passion for you. What do they call the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross? The passion of the Christ! God has not been “without feeling” in expressing his love for us.
#3 – There is more of God for us to know. We must see, acknowledge, feel, experience, desire, appreciate, and worship. Look at his character of love. Look at his passion on the cross. Keep looking. Keep seeking.
Because if we seek him, he promises us that we’ll find him. And when we do, we will not find apathy but love.
Questions: What do you think? Is any of this helpful? How do you fight apathy in your relationship with God?