Refuse to be Passive

Love Wins

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2013 at 11:20 am

I just finished watching a movie about a drug dealer turned preacher who winds up rescuing children in war-torn Sudan. After watching this movie, which was so riveting, I wasn’t even tempted to go for snacks, I couldn’t help but take a look at the life that I am living, and realize how blessed I am, how much I take it for granted, and feel guilty over the fact that I can stop by my local coffee shop for a brew anytime I want, while there are children being abducted or killed, sold into slavery, raped, and abused, by the thousands. It may be half a world away, but the world keeps shrinking as technology continues to increase. Half a world is really not so very far.

Granted, even in my own city there is abuse and neglect of children, but to see it on such a vivid and grotesque scale is both shocking and humbling. It makes the challenges I face daily trivial and mundane. For example, last night I was fretting over missing a piece for a cappuccino machine I demonstrate as one of my jobs. There is something incredibly disturbing about that to me right now. I am trying to sell cappuccino machines, these monetary pieces of entitlement, to yuppies who apparently have more money than they know what to do with. Don’t get me wrong, these are lovely machines and well-engineered. And the factories they are made in provide quality working conditions and wages for their employees. In this day and age, that is a miracle enough. So I suppose there is an argument for them there. But at the same time, aren’t there better ways to spend your money than on a cappuccino machine? On the other hand, I suppose in a monetary sense, it’s much cheaper than spending fifteen dollars at Starbucks everyday (I do know some who spend $25-$30 per day, insane).

But it disturbs me to know that the average Canadian donates only $100 dollars a year to charity, and yet, we’re more than happy to spend a few hundred dollars on a coffee or espresso machine. I see something wrong with that picture. It’s easy to forget about all the pain and suffering in this world, when we don’t see it with our own eyes day to day. Nothing is as real when it comes through the television screen. And that which we do see day to day, we become acclimatized to. Just the other day, I had a woman ask me for spare change for the bus. I looked at her, exasperated, and said, “You ask me that all the time, and my answer is the same, no.” Actually, most of the time I don’t carry change so I don’t have to lie to these people who pan-handle and beg for money. But each time I get one of those requests, I mark it down, and make a donation to a local outreach that helps people who are down on their luck. Or at least that’s my intention. Truth be told, I haven’t written a cheque yet. I live in a poor section of town with a large homeless population, and I have to say, that number is going up quickly.  

But the truth is, I don’t just want to throw money at societies problems. It’s like that proverb, “Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.” Now I find myself mulling over what I can do that will make a long-term impact, both half a world away, and right here in my own neighbhourhood. Half a world away, will probably be donating money to charities that I’ve researched and know to be doing good work. But in my neighbourhood? What will that look like? And where will I give up something that I feel entitled to, to help make life better for someone else? And this, not just out of guilt, but out of the recognition that in a world so filled with hate, evil, and pain, that love must win out. For if we let the hate, evil, and pain simply wash over us, we will become what we fear. We will become what we loath. We cannot let the hate win. Love wins, and it will do it through us.

Regardless of your belief system, whether you’re a Christ follower, or follow some other view. Do no harm is not an option, because it allows us to check out of reality. As long as we do no harm, our mission is fulfilled. Instead, we must go beyond “do no harm” to “do good, and treat others as you would wish to be treated.” Step up. Refuse to be passive. Love and do good to all, especially those who are tough to love. Oh goodness, I just realized that this last paragraph is the beginning of another post, another topic, tied to, but separate from. More to come!

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