Last week I copied Seth Godin's blog about how when we expect something we fell entitled to it. Today I want to look at the reverse.
What happened in Paris over the weekend was shocking. Appalling. Horrific. And yet I have seen a lot of posts floating around the internet asking why Paris got all the news and the bombing in Baghdad did not, or the earthquake in Mexico, or ______ horrible tragedy.
And I've seen lots of reasons. Because Paris is white. Because they're an American ally. Because it's a first world nation. But I have a different theory.
Because it was unexpected.
This is a hard truth to face, but let's be honest. We expect turmoil in the Middle East, we expect war and bombs and because of that we don't see it as "news". We expect earthquakes to happen all over the world so when we hear about one it's "another earthquake." What we didn't expect was a suicide bomber to go to a football match in Paris after shooting up a restaurant, or another to go to a concert and start killing.
But here's the real danger, and it shows in our reaction. We become home-blind to the expected. If we had never ever seen a homeless person and for only once in our lives we saw someone standing on the side of the road with a sign asking for money so they could get home wouldn't we be shocked and want to help them? But after seeing hundreds of them and hearing the stories, how much are we stirred to dig into our pockets to help? Just because this is the 100th person we've seen doesn't make their story any less tragic or them any less in need of help, but we've almost become numb to it because we pretty much expect it now. So we do less, or nothing.
How many ways in our lives have we become numb to what we expect so we do nothing?
Everyone knows about Jesus or the one's I've told said "no" so I stop sharing the gospel.
I give to food pantries but there are still hungry people so what difference will my gift make.
I've invited this family member to Thanksgiving every year and they never show so I stop inviting.
My prayers seem to go unanswered so I stop praying.
We can't give up, especially when the failure/horror/tragedy is expected.