Jesus isn’t impressed by our feelings of moral outrage at injustice.
The influx of Jewish refugees into the United States during World War II led to a significant increase in the level of anti-Semitism in this country. The 1947 Academy Award winning film Gentleman’s Agreement confronted this blatant discrimination in areas such as jobs, housing, health care, and social structures.
Toward the end of the film, we see a conversation between Kathy and Dave, a life-long Jewish American. Kathy declared to Dave that she is not prejudiced, which she supported with the fact that she conceived of the writing of an article on anti-Semitism. She went on to reinforce her open-mindedness by telling Dave how offended she was when a man at a dinner party told a bigoted joke and used racial slurs.
Dave responded by asking Kathy what she did. She replied, “I wanted to yell at him. I wanted to get up and leave. I wanted to say to everyone at that table, ‘Why do we sit here and take it when he is attacking everything we believe in?’” Rather than responding, Dave repeated the questions and asked what she did. She replied, “I just sat there, I felt ashamed. We all just sat there.”
Kathy ultimately realized that sitting there condoned the prejudices. Without action, nothing would change.
Like Kathy, many of us just sit there when we are faced with the realization of the things that break God’s heart. We hear of prejudice or sexual slavery or poverty or of unsaved people, but we just sit there. Like Kathy, we may feel ashamed or get upset when people attack everything we believe in; however, many of us stay at the table and do nothing. We congratulate ourselves on our personal feelings of outrage or on our good intentions to do something—similar to Kathy’s …