Sunday, August 14, 2011


By Tom Altepeter
Originally posted at Intercultural Responsiveness
“Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”                – Matthew 25:45 

Someday, we will see a change in the way we view people who are different than ourselves. We’ll look at a brother or sister within our grasp or beyond our sight as just that: a brother or sister. We get upset with our brothers or sisters; however, when push comes to shove, when that really and truly happens, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for them. Nothing.

Someday, we will recognize the selfishness we all have. We get very caught up in believing that solely because of who we are, and entirely because of what we’ve done or haven’t done, we have been blessed. Rather, it will become less about what I’ve done to earn what I have to benefit myself, and more about what I’ve gained in order to share with others what’s not mine to begin with.

Someday, we will come to acknowledge that we all, each and every single one of us, have prejudice toward others. It’s not that we finally arrive at some place here on earth that makes us enlightened about our prejudices and they then become stamped out for the duration of our lives. No, that doesn’t and isn’t going to happen. It’s that we can come to a realization that allows us to recognize our prejudices, we’re encouraged to face our prejudices, and we work to counter those prejudices.

Someday, we will stop insisting that we have no role in eliminating injustice in our world. We’ll move away from fighting about the reality of it. We’ll step back from making excuses for it’s existence. We’ll recognize the futility in attempting to downplay it. Our resources and energy will consistently be put toward doing something meaningful about it, toward making a positive difference around and within it, toward eliminating it.

Someday, we will no longer speak so much about personal responsibility as something other people need to do. We’ll begin to recognize that personal responsibility isn’t something necessary for others to take if they want to make their lives better. We’ll become invested in understanding that personal responsibility is something we need to take, I need to take, in order to help make the lives of others better.

Someday, all of this isn’t going to matter. But it does now. Today, it matters. And, as long as there is a today, it matters. As frustrating as it becomes, as difficult as it becomes, as overwhelming as it becomes, as unacceptable as it becomes, it matters. Giving up on reality is an exercise in futility. This isn’t something to walk away from; rather, it’s something to race into. It’s worth it, and it will change.


Jesus junkie, husband, and father, Tom Altepeter is a former elementary school principal and present middle school assistant principal in Loveland, Colorado. He is passionate about God, family, intercultural responsiveness, and social justice. He blogs at Intercultural Responsiveness, Maranatha, and Tom's Posterous. You can follow him on Twitter @tomaltepeter (


  1. Very beautiful, and very necessary.

  2. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. . . One gesture. One person. One moment at a time." -- Margaret Mead. Indeed, it's true. Nice post, Tom.