At every turn we are bombarded with news of almost every crisis happening in every corner of our globe. Like no other time in history, we live with the constant awareness of what’s happening around the world as carnage of every kind is paraded in front of our eyes. With this newly acquired awareness comes a foreboding sense of urgency to do something about it. We want to make a difference, but how?
I do not profess hope in governments to get things right. They are hopeless and incapable of seeking the kingdom of God or following the teachings of Jesus. Nations will not get this right. The church, however, must get this right!
We feel the weight of the world like never before. We want to express solidarity with victims around the world, and social media makes it possible for us to feel like we are making a difference. We know, however, that words and sympathy fall short of making any real difference. I think the courageous way of Christ moves us beyond our carefully crafted words and expressions of sympathy to the most practical expression of God’s love at work within us: to love our neighbor.
So what can we do?
1. Pray. Prayer affirms our trust in God, frees us from the captivity of our fears, and welcomes God’s work within us and through us. Through prayer we are waging a “fight” that counters the violence of our age (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) and preserves us from the shallow deceptions of retribution and revenge. It is not a wasted or useless act but a demonstration of our faith in God over the dominating values of our world.
2. Give. What difference can I make? On my own, not much, but together with all of God’s people, we can feed the hungry, shelter the refugee, and facilitate the reconciliation of enemies. If you are looking for a reputable agency to entrust a financial gift, I recommend giving through Brethren Disaster Ministries to the Emergency Disaster Fund (www.brethren.org/edf). Through trusted partnerships, BDM is caring for victims of violence throughout the Middle East, Africa, and in Europe.
3. Love your neighbor. Perhaps a love for the refugees of the world can be best demonstrated by welcoming and adopting refugee families who find themselves living among us here. World Relief is a leading Christian agency serving refugee and asylum-seekers in the Kent area. They continuously need volunteers to serve as the face of hospitality and friendship for these marginalized people. You can learn more at www.worldrelief.org/refugee-resettlement.
4. Seek peace & pursue it. To abhor hatred and violence around the world begins by despising it in our own hearts. Justice and peace begin at home. We must cultivate the kingdom of God within us and trust God so that our lives are not dominated by hatred, bitterness, or strife. The worst of evil’s atrocities begin with the deadly spark of hatred in the human heart. Let’s guard our hearts and minds in Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
I am not an expert in foreign policy and will not spend much breath pretending to be. Like many believers, I simply want to know Jesus Christ and live faithfully as his. He leads us to a faithful response.