Happy Monday, my friends! Last week I tried to make the point that it can be healthy to say that something “isn’t my problem” when we have become entangled in someone else’s drama. We need to recognize those times when we’ve gotten too involved. We also need to recognize when a situation is someone else’s shit, not ours. It can be imperative in those moments for us to walk away because it really isn’t our problem. However, saying “it’s not my problem” can be…well…problematic too in increasingly problematic ways.
The problems start when we ignore issues because they don’t affect us or impact our lives. Many, if not all of us, have simply become desensitized to many issues. Sure, the situation at the US southern border is a human rights calamity of epic proportions, but how does that impact my life in Central Ohio? The war in Ukraine is a similar case, though there our government seems to exercise more compassion because those folks are white, but I digress. Closer to home it is also easy to look at situations and wonder how those are our problem unless they impact us directly. Why are laws and policy about what is taught in K-12 education my problem? I don’t have children and I don’t work in education. Why do I need to worry about laws affecting Medicare or social security? I’m not—yet—a senior citizen. The list goes on.
We are easily reminded of the words of the German theologian and pastor Martin Niemöller: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” When challenged with the question “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). Jesus calls on us to see our neighbors as all the people around us whether their lives impact our life or whether their situations have relevance to our lives. Fannie Lou Hamer put it this way, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.
Who are your neighbors? How are you contributing to everyone’s collective liberation?
Let us pray: God, compel us to see our neighbor in each of the people around us. Make their problems our problems and our problems their problems. Move us to never settle for our own comfort until everyone is truly free. We ask this in the name of your son who has never stopped working because your children are not yet free. Amen.
Blessings on your week, my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.