It is Getting Colder

The University of Michigan did this big study on 14,000 college students and what they found was, with the rise of social media and technology, there’s actually a sharp decline in empathy and compassion. The study shows that we as a society care 40 percent less about other people than we did in the 1980s. That’s shocking: we care 40 percent less![1]

The study lists three theories why:

One is that we are more obsessed with ourselves.

Two is that when we are not interacting personally, it makes it easier for us not to care.

Three is that social media exposure to hard times actually desensitizes us.

And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. (Matt. 24:11-12 NRS)

Many, many people in this country were taken in by the deceptive message given by the former president’s words about “America First.” This includes far too many who claim to follow Jesus. Either they could not see the selfish intent of these words or else they did not care.

Jesus said the second most important commandment was to love our neighbor as ourselves (this command did not have an exclusion clause for immigrants). Jesus also gave a rather pointed parable to explain who our neighbor in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

I have discovered that the enemy of humanity is more patient, deceptive, clever, and hateful than most of us understand. This enemy is committed to separating us from God and each other. It seems like this horrid foe is succeeding in its plan. Love does seem to be growing cold.

I do not know if the church has the will or the desire to counter this trend. Currently, I am looking for a new church home. Even though I have been wounded time and time again by institutional local churches and denominational leadership I still believe in the one catholic church. I will seek the Lord’s discernment as to where I will find community. One of the major factors in making my decision will be, “Does this church demonstrate compassion?”  I will look for churches that are not seeing numbers but nurture. I will look for a church that participates in issues of social justice and community care. I do hope I find such a community.

We are not likely to prevent the coming coldness, but a least we can be a small candle that helps slow it down.