Russell Moore’s recent post “Loving My Invisible Neighbor” discusses the danger of being passionate about issues in the abstract while ignoring these issues in actuality. He provides four examples:
- Talking about the importance of “The Family” while neglecting your own family.
- Fighting for “The Poor” while maintaining a materialistic mindset and ignoring the individual poor people around you
- Emphasizing “The Church” while viewing your fellow church members with contempt
- Standing for “The Truth” while ignoring how it overturns your own dearly held opinions.
As I considered this danger, I realized there is another area in which it is easy to fall prey to commitment in the abstract but neglect in actuality - “The Lost.” It’s easy to be burdened with the billions of lost people around the world while never feeling a burden for the unsaved person in the cubicle next to you. It’s easy to be moved by missionary slides of people trapped by false religion from distant countries while never being moved by people trapped by false religion in your own city. It’s easy to write a check to support Christian work thousands of miles away while never giving of your time or resources to minister those just a few miles from your home. It’s easy to pray for God to save “The Lost” while maintaining bitterness towards your unsaved neighbor (the one with all the loud parties).
We have to keep in mind that “The Lost” is not some hypothetical entity that we create in our own minds. It is the collection of individuals with eternal souls - headed towards destruction - that we pass on a daily basis. May God help us to truly love the lost. After all, it’s even easier to write a blog post about loving “The Lost” than it is to love them in actuality…