“I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there
Become so tired, so much more aware
By becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you.” Linkin Park (Numb)
There are two things that we all do in this world, even if we don’t realize it. We are influenced by the world around us, and we become an influence to others. We reciprocate influence. This is not a bad thing, it’s just a real thing.
A problem occurs, however, when we allow ourselves to be influenced to a point of giving up our identity out of a fear of rejection. We sometimes allow ourselves to be influenced out of fear. When we give up our own individuality, we also lose the ability to recognize the individuality of others. When this happens, we suddenly become a part of a world that influences out of fear rather than out of love.
For far too many people, this loss of individuality leaves us numb to the world around us. This numbness is so overwhelming that we would rather seek pain than to feel nothing. In the video for the song Numb a high school girl cuts the word NUMB into her arm—a surreal image of how important feeling and control is to us. Sometimes we inflict pain onto others—even without realizing it—by the way we respond to their presence. We choose to not associate with another person because they do not fit the criteria that we have for existence. Every time you ignore a person, it makes a profound statement. But this is not how it is supposed to be, nor is it how it has to be.
As a Christian, I want everyone to know God and His amazing love. I want every person on this planet to know His grace. To ignore those who do not believe as I do, or to treat them as if they do not deserve my love and respect because they believe differently, is absolutely unchristian, unbiblical, and very contrary to the most primary message of the Bible.
Paul tells the Thessalonians to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thess. 5:11), and he tells the church at Ephesus, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29 NIV). The author of Hebrews writes, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (10:24).
I wonder, do you realize the influence that you have in this world? Regardless of whether you are a Christian or not, you have the ability to encourage and build people up every day. When you drop your kids off at school, you have the ability to share love with others just by being polite. When you go out to eat, do you treat your server like a servant, or like a fellow person? How do you treat your spouse? Do you take cheap jabs at them, or do you build them up by all means? How about your children? Do you degrade and humiliate them, or do you try to inspire them? What about your parents? Do you talk bad about them, or do you try to encourage them as well?
You shouldn’t lose your identity out of fear, instead, find it in love. You have the power, not just to end numbness, but to bring real encouragement back into this world. Take the time to encourage another person; it will encourage you as well.
“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:40 NIV).
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!