I usually use my Make a Difference Monday posts to talk about uplifting, encouraging, practical ways that you can help your neighbors and friends. Today, though, I am addressing a bigger, scarier, and more personal issue.
The news this week has been overwhelming to say the least. Ebola. Kidnappings. Hurricanes. Destruction. All horrible things. And then, there is the news coming out of Iraq. Thousands of Christians are being forced to run for their very lives. Hundreds have been killed for refusing to denounce their faith. Women and being raped before being murdered. Children are being beheaded. Men and being shot and killed in the streets. Those that have run are facing starvation.
It makes my stomach hurt and it makes my head hurt and it breaks my heart. As a Christian, I am horrified. I cannot help but think of my own faith and my own life. I wonder what I would do in that situation. I wonder if I would have the strength to stand up for my faith. I wonder what I would do if the people I love were being killed in the streets. I wonder what would happen to me.
As a human being, I am disgusted by the blatant disregard for human life. I know I live a life of blissful ignorance and safety. But the fact that there are people in the world that are willing to do this to other people, who think that they have the right to do this to other people, makes me sick. Regardless of your faith, you should be angered and disgusted by the atrocities happening around the world, including, but not limited to the ISIS genocide in Iraq.
So where does that leave us on this Monday morning? We are small individuals on the other side of the world. What can we do to help? Is there anything, really we can do?
First of all, pray. If you profess a faith, use it. Pray for the people being persecuted. Pray for the children losing their parents. Pray for the children losing their lives. Pray for our government and leaders as they look to Iraq and try to think of a response to the horrors Pray for peace and understanding between religions. Pray for strength. Pray for life. Pray for peace. Pray for those without voices.
Use social media wisely. The response is outrage, and I get that. I AM OUTRAGED. But, use your power of social media wisely. Follow the #IamN hashtag to read stories and lend your voice to the cause. Don’t lash out and assume all people associated with a religion are like this rebels. Use your voice to ask for an end to the horror, but be careful not to add to it.
Research ways to help. I was going to list ways to help here, but they’re overwhelming. Start with your local church. Ask them what they are willing to do to help. Champion this cause if they’re not yet doing anything. Be careful with your money, but use it. You might help a new refugee find a new life and a new home.
Talk honestly and openly about what scares you, what inspires you and what matters to you in this darkest hour.
Above all, love the people around you. Hold them close. Do not take them for granted.