Overcoming Sin Through Christ – Apathy, Complacency, or Indifference

Overcoming Sin through Christ

 A Comprehensive List of Sins

Apathy, Complacency, or Indifference

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Apathy, Complacency, or Indifference

Apathy is a “lack of interest or concern, esp. in matters of general importance or appeal; indifference. . . . lack of emotion or feeling; impassiveness.”[i][i]  Complacence is defined as “contented self-satisfaction. . . . Total lack of concern.”[ii][ii]  Complacency is the very opposite of diligence, industry, and fervency.  Paul writes, “Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11).  He says that we are to be “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).  If we know and serve the living God, this should be the most wonderful, exciting, and eventful experience possible on earth.  There should be no room for a complacent, apathetic, or indifferent attitude toward the Lord or to life in general!

We know how indifference can affect life in general in the secular world.  A teacher is dismayed when her students show an indifferent attitude toward his classroom work or home work.  The government is disappointed when the citizens show little interest in voting for the candidates in a political race; they are simply indifferent to the political process.  A manager is troubled when his workers arrive at work late and sluggishly do their job.  He concludes that they are just indifferent to their required work, thus they may lose their job.  The adjective indifferent means “having no particular interest or concern; apathetic.”[iii][iii]  It indicates “without interest or concern; not caring; apathetic.”[iv][iv]

This attitude is the very opposite of what God wants—and deserves!  In effect, what we are saying is: “God, I know you are the absolute Ruler of the universe and I should be excited about Your choice of me and enthusiastic about Your service, but I don’t really care!”  An apathetic person is saying, “Jesus, I realize You went to the trouble of dying for me and You live today, but I’m not that interested in living for You.  You just don’t excite me!”

We find young people who are utterly apathetic to spiritual pursuits. (Thankfully, there are some who do seek the Lord.) If they are in the world, they may be actively engaged in sports, in worldly music, in computer games, and in sports car racing.  Besides being involved in these worldly activities, they simply don’t have a holy zeal for God and His will.  They are what the Bible calls “dead.”  One who “gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6).  God calls us to be “alive” for God, fully engaged in what pleases Him and accomplishes His will in the Kingdom.  We also find people apathetic toward Bible reading and even if they do manage to read the Bible, they have no concern about solid Bible study and Scripture memorization.  We find people indifferent about meeting for admonishment, for worship, and for Christian fellowship.  We know that many are complacent about personally worshiping God, singing praises to Him, and praying to Him.  They are spiritually indifferent.  They are spiritually dead.[v][v]

Jesus says to the lukewarm people at Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.  So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).  He calls on them to “be zealous and repent” (v. 19).  Schlink writes:

We must get rid of our indifference.  It is such a serious sin in God’s eyes. We have to regard it as our worst enemy, which will bring us into destruction, into the kingdom of darkness, full of torment and horror.  We have to fight against it.  We have to beseech Jesus and call to Him who has abolished death, and believe that He, Life Himself, can and will awaken us to divine life.  But at the same time we must commit ourselves to being “shaken up” by God’s chastening hand, which will arouse us from our indifference.[vi][vi]

Instead of having an indifferent or apathetic attitude, Peter urges us, “Prepare your minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13).  Paul writes, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:23-24).  Solomon wrote, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  The Christian has reason to be actively engaged in the tasks he knows will be pleasing to the Lord.  Let us totally renounce the careless and indifferent attitude displayed by so many!

Let us cast aside the lackadaisical attitude displayed by the masses and live like Christ’s return is near, the Judgment is approaching, and only what we do now will count for eternity!

(See also the selection: “Lukewarmness”)

[i][i] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[ii][ii] Ibid.

[iii][iii] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[iv][iv] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

[v][v] See our tract, Shocking Statements for Dying and Dead Disciples!

[vi][vi] You Will Never be the Same, p. 98.

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