A few days ago I read about a group of people who boarded a train in New York and immediately noticed swastikas drawn on the walls. They were stunned for a moment, as they read the accompanying message “Jews belong in the oven.” Can you imagine? Who could be that evil?
It’s the question I find myself asking a lot these days as incidents of hate crimes against certain groups of people continue to rise. Sometimes I dread turning on the news because the recap of the day’s events is so depressing. Like many of you, I struggle to stay even keeled when evil, hatred and bigotry seem to be more accepted in the mainstream.
The easy route would be to throw up our hands and say, what can I do? People are going to feel the way feel. That’s just the way it is. Let me just stay in my own lane, focus on my own stuff and stay the hell away from the crazies.
Yeah, I feel that way sometimes too. But if you have any humanity at all, it’s tough to see suffering and do nothing. Most of us want to get involved, but we just don’t know what we can do, and truthfully – if our efforts will make any difference.
That’s why this story about the subway was both disturbing and inspiring. You see after they took a moment to absorb what they were seeing somebody spoke up, and then a bunch of people took action. Instead of just looking at it and shaking their heads, they formulated a plan and in no time they had removed all the graffiti from the train. What a lovely picture of the power of working together to triumph over evil.
I know our problems seem too big for simple solutions to produce results, and yet the ripple effect of small acts is undeniable. In this story the people on the train were uplifted and empowered by their own actions, future riders were prevented from having to experience the disgust, and readers like you and I are encouraged that yes – there really are good people in this world. All because a few people stood up and said, uh uh…not on my watch.
That my friends is love. When we go outside ourselves to act, not because we have to, but because it’s the right thing to do, it’s putting love in action. It’s something we all can do to ensure that when evil rears its ugly head we are ready and willing to take a stand.
In that spirit, here are 5 things we can all start doing right now!
- When you see something, say something. It’s a phrase you see all over New York. When you see someone hurting someone else, acting suspiciously, or their actions just feel off, say something. Speak up so that others can stand with you, and together we can protect each other.
- When you hear someone hurting, send a word of encouragement. We hear it in a friend’s voice – something is just not right. Maybe it’s current events, or something much more personal that’s depressing their spirit. Whatever the reason, stop and pay attention. Send a word of encouragement or go check in. No one should hurt alone.
- When you sense something in your spirit, act on it. The most often overlooked opportunity is responding to that persistent voice inside. You’ve thought about her 4 times in the last week, but haven’t picked up the phone. Don’t ignore your intuition. When God is placing someone on your heart, act on it.
- When you can help, lend a hand. So often we walk right past the homeless and the hungry. In this season where many days our fears outpace our faith we must constantly remind ourselves that the true test of our humanity is how we treat those who need us most. Don’t walk by. If you can, lend a hand.
- When you encounter injustice, stand. Like those on the train, when you’re faced with evil take a stand. Just because it doesn’t directly impact “your people” doesn’t mean it’s not your fight. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects us all indirectly.”
Every moment of every day we are creating the world we live in. Our choices or lack thereof are shaping our destiny. Don’t side step or look away. When evil rises, take a stand. Be a LoveLight! Let’s together take back our communities, and be a positive force for good.
Hugs and Love