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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Turning a Blind Eye and Escapism

“I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, 
“and they are a stiff-necked people.” Exodus 32:9

One of the most frequent means of escapism (which I have described as the basis of all sin) is to turn a blind eye. This is particularly relevant to the behavior of the comfortable. It is as if kindness were needed only in our closely contained universe and stopped at the doorstep of us and our closest associates. We tend to see kindness as an intimate and personal thing. Indeed it relies on personal behavior and perception. But a public kindness must also be recognized as essential. That is, we need to appreciate the existence of the family of humanity. The other day I mentioned the meaning of kindness as respect, dignity, compassion, and humility (which by the way I borrowed off the inscription on a coffee mug gotten from As my friend Angleo suggested, it appropriately can be listed in reverse (or as the cup is filled from the bottom)—humility (first), then compassion, dignity, and respect. In other words, to view humanity as one family requires first humility, then compassion, which lead to dignity and respect. I love in the Bible where God refers to people as “stiff necked.” That precisely describes the common affliction of the comfortable (and not only the comfortable).

It is obvious that turning a blind eye is not only a sin against humanity, but is also a sin against nature itself. We turn a blind eye in our creation of pollution of one sort or another. In economics this is referred to as externalizing cost. Individuals (starting with myself) and organizations often do this. We need to recognize it for what it is—a sin against God, or as David said “Against you, you only, have I sinned...” (Psalm 51:4).

[Brackets indicate not included in this music video.] 

Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light. 

[Then to side with truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and ’tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses while the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.] 

By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv’ries ever with the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth. 

[Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong;
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.] 

Words: James R. Lowell
Music: Ebenezer, Thomas J. Williams

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