Surfing the blogosphere, I’ve seen about every current debate from both sides: gay marriage, abortion, gun control, religious freedom, boxers vs. briefs, all that good stuff. I have my beliefs (boxers), but I can easily admit that my “opponents” in these issues (I hate talking like we’re enemies) have some darn good arguments against me.
But there is one argument used in a lot of debates (on whichever side you please) that just drives me up the proverbial wall. It’s one that sounds good from the start, but when you examine it for 5 seconds, it’s not only ridiculous, but it’s actually immoral by any standards.
“It doesn’t affect/involve/concern you.” This argument says that if you’re not X, then the X issue doesn’t concern you. Like I said, it sounds nice at first. This has nothing to do with you; butt out. But then I realized something.
That’s is what the rapist says to passers-by. “This doesn’t concern you. Keep walking.”
He’s right. I’m not affected by his assaulting a woman. No skin off my back, as they say. Should I keep walking?
No! Hell, no!
Selfishness is the only excuse for this kind of thought pattern. “It doesn’t affect me, so I’ll leave it alone.” How cruel! How completely self-absorbed! Who would dare commend a man for staying out injustice because it didn’t affect him?
Genocide in Africa doesn’t affect me. Sex slavery doesn’t affect me. Domestic abuse doesn’t affect me. Hunger in foreign countries doesn’t affect me. The Boston massacre didn’t affect me here in St. Louis. I’m safe in my white, American bubble.
But this does NOT excuse me.
True justice, true righteousness, true goodness, and Heaven help me, true LOVE does not stop at my own skin. So what if it doesn’t affect me? If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Genocide, sex slavery, poverty, world hunger, Boston bombings, all those things are horrible, horrible realities and if I call myself a compassionate human being, I need to be concerned with them, at least on some level. It’s the only way I can call myself good, and the only way I can call myself a Christian.
James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” If I see a girl getting assaulted in an alley and I just walk away, that is sin, that is lacking in love, and that is negligence of my responsibility and my humanity. If I ignore the issues of right/wrong that don’t directly affect me, I am no good man and no Christian. I want to be both.
Jesus didn’t live by the “It-doesn’t-affect-me” motto. He wasn’t going to be punished for our sins; he was perfect! But he loved us. He loved us enough to butt into our issues and take them upon himself.
So excuse me for getting involved, but that argument really doesn’t hold water. Because love is messy. Love gets in other people’s business. Love is affected. Love is involved. Love is concerned. It does not ignore.
If you don’t like it, I don’t care. I love you.
5 thoughts on “It Doesn’t Affect You”
Preach. It. Brother!!
“Selfishness is the only excuse for this kind of thought pattern.”
Or cowardice? On the other hand it is difficult to know where to draw the line between living your life or dedicating yourself to making every injustice your business. No doubt we will build up more “treasure in heaven” the more we practice the latter. But for most of us it can be difficult to decide where to draw the line.
In principle I certainly agree that the argument “it isn’t your concern…” is largely immoral (or amoral?). Another version of the argument might be that, e.g., “You are not a woman so you don’t have a right to an opinion on abortion,” or “you are not black so your opinions on racism aren’t valid,” etc. Sure you’ve heard those too.
It is indeed hard to find a line, so here’s a nice blurry one to confuse everybody 😀
Some matters really are personal. Some are illegal/radically immoral/hurtful.
For example, two guys having an argument, stay out of it, no matter who is right. One guy starts beating the crap out of the other, yeah, that’s crossing the line.
I’d say wisdom and discretion are needed to know which battles to fight and which battles to leave. God gives both, fortunately.
Well, You got in it and you told it like it is; and greatly so. I commend you myself for this and I love it!
I don’t think anyone making that argument would be attempting to use it universally. In cases like gay marriage, religious freedom, etc. it is very much a personal choice solely between consenting people. But hunger, slavery and murder are not at all the same thing. What I’ve noticed of the former mindset is that it’s very ‘live and let live.’ You do your own thing, and as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, do what you want. The latter, however, is not like that at all. So in those cases I feel it’s justifiable to step in. They are very human issues we need to involve ourselves in to help everyone.
But in the other cases I still think the ‘it doesn’t affect you’ argument works, mostly because if that’s not pointed out, we’ll get to hear all about the apocalypses that will happen if two people do something slightly different in their own bedroom where no one else can see. It’s not usually said to silence discourse, but to silence the odd rumors that somehow personal choices will negatively affect everyone.