At least once a day I comment to someone, if only myself, that I notice someone oblivious to others. Usually, this word is uttered when I see them do a small selfish act that they do not even notice. It can be as simple as parking in a way that makes everyone else drive around them. Frequently it is walking as if no one else existed in their path. I drive around or step out of the way and say, “Oblivious.”
The word oblivious has a double-layered meaning. The definition is “not aware of or not concerned about what is happening around one.” Someone who is oblivious has one of two problems; they are not aware of the people around them and what is going on. The other possibility is that they simply don’t care. Other people are none of their concern. Whenever I encounter someone who seems to be totally oblivious to others, I ask if it is a lack of awareness or concern that plagues them.
This is an especially important issue if you are a follower of Jesus. As a Christ-follower, I am called to love other people, lift up other people, and care for their needs above my own. To walk the way of Jesus, I need to be less oblivious to others. Here are two things every Christian should do.
- Become aware of the people around you. This can be as easy as opening your eyes. When you step into a room, look around and notice the other people in your space. This can also be as challenging as asking other people questions about themselves. What do they need and want in life? What are their struggles and successes? Open your heart and mind to the people you pass by throughout life.
- Show concern for others. Open doors, step out of the way, say please and thank you, let other people go first, don’t force your ideas, and on and on it goes. Do little things that elevate other people. When you do small things, big things will come much easier.
Every day I encounter that one person who seems to think the world revolves around them. My prayer is that it is never someone who claims to follow Jesus. An oblivious Christian is an oxymoron that we should seek to eradicate at all costs.