O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
– Micah 6:8
2017 was a tumultuous year. Between Donald Trump’s first year as US President, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the shootings in Las Vegas and at Sutherland Springs’ First Baptist Church, the missile testing in North Korea, and the violence in Charlottesville, it seemed like we were forever waking up to terrible news. Social media was flooded with people revealing incidents of racism and sexual assault and harassment with the #saytheirnames and #metoo campaigns. The church was not excluded from these stories as #churchtoo highlighted church abuse and support for certain US political candidates caused division in the faith. At times, things seemed very dark and it was hard to see our world as God’s beautiful creation.
But as Christians, we are called by God to focus on the good. In Philippians 4:8, Paul commands the young church to focus on the true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. This does not mean that we let injustice go: scripture commands us to do what is right time and time again. But we are not to be overwhelmed by the darkness and must look for the points of light.
As Cheryl Nembhard said on the show, we must break through our sense of “spiritual amnesia” and focus on the good God brings. Kimberley reminded us that we can take a page from Mr. Rogers and “look for the helpers.” For every incident of sexual assault, there are people who will sit with survivors in their pain, help them through the trauma, and work to make the justice system better. For every incident of racism, there are people who will march in protest, offer a safe haven to those who feel threatened, and work to correct the injustice. After every natural disaster, people line up to give blood, donate money, and rebuild homes to help others get their lives back. In this world, there is hatred and pain and injustice, but there is also love and healing and mercy.
As Christians, we are commanded by Jesus to act as helpers. If we love Him, we must feed His sheep. We must love others as we love ourselves. This is not a passive thing. We can write to politicians and start to change the laws. We can give money to organizations feeding the hungry and clothing the poor. We can sit with a friend who is sick or hurting. We can donate clothing, and food, and blood. We can be overcomers and encouragers and show others the depth of God’s love.
Let’s make 2018 about seeing the good and being the good. Let’s let others know that we see their pain and hear their cries, and that – reflecting God’s great love – we will bring light to the darkness.
Blessings for a beautiful New Year.