Depravity and Indifference

We discover an immeasurable amount of good in our lives when we truly realize the depths of our depravity and indifference.

He Saw That It Was Good xxi.

That is, on the surface, contradictory. Good from depravity? But surely we sense what he’s getting at, right? If we’re thinking biblically, don’t we remember that the good news turns things upside down? Is not the posture of humility the soil from which exaltation takes root and springs forth? But do we believe it? I’m assuming if that is the opening sentence, the remainder of the book will flesh out why that is undeniably so and do so in a compelling way. I’ve heard Baraka speak; I’m confident his case will be compelling. 

But there’s another part of that statement that I find more intriguing: his differentiation between depravity and indifference. Why both? Isn’t depravity enough? But I think this is an important distinction. For while we might be able to recognize our depravity—though we certainly have blind spots here—we probably wouldn’t think our indifference is a problem. “I can’t be concerned about everything, and besides, I’m busy.” But if God is concerned about justice and mercy, we ought to be concerned where our indifference manifests itself in failing to seek justice and offer mercy. While our depravity can directly harm someone, indifference harms subtly; it’s passive harm. 

Now, it is true that we are neither omniscient nor omnipresent. We can’t “care” about every injustice; we can’t extend mercy to every situation. One person, one local church can’t fix it all. But indifference can easily be couched as, “I’m too busy for that,” when that is exactly what we should be concerned about. And so we need someone to shine a light on our indifference so that we might respond at the right time in the right way in the right place. 

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