Mass hypnosis is an amazing phenomenon, and we all seem to be experiencing it right now. We Americans appear to be hypnotized with the notion that sympathy is a substitute for action. It is not – but the delusion is killing us from the inside out.
You need to step out from the crowd, shake off the hypnotic trance that has seduced so many, and become a leader at this key time in your life, family and nation. If you don’t, you may very well be swept away. It’s time to wake up – and take action. 

Imagine a family whose house is engulfed in a raging inferno. Shocked, and wanting others to recognize their crisis, the family runs frantically throughout the neighborhood, shouting, “Our house is on fire! Our house is on fire! Come and see for yourself – our home has been overcome by monstrous flames!”


The family’s social media-savvy teen decides to spread the word on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Soon, hundreds of people are following her and liking, retweeting and sharing her posts. Everyone resoundingly agrees, “Yup, that is some fire!” The news goes viral and a crowd quickly gathers at their once cozy home, now so overcome with flames that no one can get within thirty yards because of the intense, overwhelming heat. What’s worse is that the flames, doing what flames do when unchecked, have now jumped onto nearby homes, engulfing them, too. What was once the problem of a single family has now become the problem of the entire neighborhood.

“. . . the best we seem to do is resort to social media to get others to agree with our observations. We think we are so astute. I can think of at least a half dozen words that would more aptly reflect our response.”

In all the shock of what they were witnessing, everyone forgot that when the fire began it was well within their ability to put it out. It could have been doused by a simple garden hose. Someone could have used the same smart phone which the media-savvy teen used to reach out by social media – to call the doggone fire department. But the mesmerizing spectacle of the flames and the understanding that a house fire is really, really bad, led everyone to sympathize when they should have – and could have – taken decisive action. Welcome to the United States of America – a collection of broken lives, families and houses of worship.

The simple truth is that our house is on fire – yet the best we seem able to do is resort to social media to get others to commiserate with our observations. Lately, I’ve heard of calls for a rally or two with motivational speakers (who, in the end, didn’t motivate anyone to the point of action). It would be humorous to believe this was the solution if only it weren’t so tragic.

Do we really think our calls to “action” are astute? They are only calls to sympathy, not action.  I’m pretty sure “astute” is not the best word to describe our behavior. I can think of at least a half dozen words that more aptly reflect our responses to our national predicament so far: cowardly, weak, fearful, irresponsible, passive and . . . disconnected.

Come on, folks, our house is on fire. It’s time to call in the Ultimate Fire Department. Merely Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming about the fire is the easiest – and most insignificant thing we can do – if all it does is help others recognize the obvious. Sympathy is no substitute for action. 

Until we begin to cry out to God – really cry out – nothing positive will change. There is biblical precedent to reach this conclusion. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, often quoted but rarely understood, should be moving us beyond the point of sympathy to the point of action:

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 

Yes, the above passage originally applied to the nation of Israel, but it’s moral truths are timeless, applying to any of God’s people when the hand of God seems to be against them.

Do you know what time it is? It’s time for a National Week of Repentance. What do you think? Learn more, here, and don’t just be sympathetic. Do something about it and spread the word.

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Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comA Call For Courage, Michael Anthony I'm a husband, father, inspirational speaker, podcaster, blogger, and Lead Pastor of Genesis Church, in York, Pennsylvania, where I live among farm animals and snack foods. I'm the author of A Call for Courage: Living With Power, Truth and Love In An Age of Intolerance and Fear (Thomas Nelson Publishers), and the soon to be released Courageous Life™ Motivational Planner. Both are available wherever books are sold. Send speaking, interview, and guest appearance inquiries to , or click here and do your thing. For keynote speaking, interview and guest appearance inquiries, contact
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