Rape. Child abuse. Domestic violence.
Poverty. Disease. Suicide.
Drugs. Human trafficking. Racism.
What do all the above terms have in common? They’re just a fraction of the problems plaguing our world today.
The world we live in has an abundance of problems and you don’t have to look very far to see evidence of this. Turn on the news and within five minutes you’ll hear stories of murder, violence, terrorist attacks and sex crimes. It’s easy to feel like the world’s problems are endless.
Then there’s your life, which I’m sure has some significant problems of its own. Maybe you’ve recently entered a new season where there just seems to be problem after problem, or maybe you’ve had one long life long problem that no matter what season you’re in never seems to quite go away.
Life Point: No matter your race, background or lifestyle in this world you will have problems.
And when it comes to your personal problems I bet you’d like to know the solution.
Perhaps you’ve tried several ways to arrive at your own solution. Maybe you’ve sought advice from professionals, read numerous books on the topic or solicited advice from loved ones. Perhaps you’ve fasted, prayed and patiently waited and still no answer.
Maybe you’re even hoping this blog will provide a solution to your problem. (If so keep reading!)
Whatever problem you’re facing today I think it would be safe to say your problem doesn’t include starvation, homelessness or being coerced into forced labor.
Whoa—What makes me say that you ask? Where am I going with this? This is not a blog to tell you that no matter what your problem is your life could be worse or how you should consider yourself lucky because there are starving kids in Africa.
This is a blog to challenge you to do something; to call you to action. Not to do something about your own specific problem, but to do something about somebody else’s.
Let me reiterate; there are a lot of problems in the world and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by them. Often we turn a deaf ear towards the world’s issues thinking that because something is not happening to us or our immediate family it’s not our problem. Or that because somebody else or some other organization is responsible for starting this “problem” it’s not our fault so we shouldn’t have to do anything anyway, leaving us free from responsibility. Well, I am challenging that mindset and saying that as a person who lives on this planet and as a Christian (if you consider yourself one) it is your problem. Unbeknownst to us, many of the world’s problems affect us indirectly because our community, family and environments often suffer as a result.
The recent death of Freddie Gray, from Baltimore, MD had a lot of people up in arms about the frequent use of unnecessary force by police when making arrests. There was talk of racial profiling and police abusing their power. Riots and violent protests ensued. Police brutality and racism are a problem in this world.
Last spring former Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice was suspended (and later re-instated) by the NFL relating to a domestic violence incident against his then fiancé. The NFL faced criticism for failing to act swiftly and neglecting to take domestic violence against women seriously. Social media lit up with numerous opinions on the NFL’s stance on domestic violence against women. A lot of people voiced a lot of opinions about the NFL, Ray Rice and his former fiancé (now wife). Domestic violence against women is an ongoing problem in our world.
Recently, former Olympian Bruce Jenner, (now Caitlyn Jenner) gave a detailed interview to Diane Sawyer about his transition from a man to a woman. He said he hoped his interview would help others suffering from gay shaming and bullying, particularly young people. Unfortunately a lot of young people are bullied because of their sexual preferences and choices, and tragically a lot of kids resort to suicide to escape the pain and shame of these experiences. Kids suffering from bullying in all forms is a problem.
I could go on, from natural disasters to numerous endangered species to the distribution of child pornography, there are too many problems in this world to count.
I don’t know if any of the aforementioned problems touch you personally in anyway. Perhaps you can relate to some of them, perhaps you can’t. Problems often have to touch people in a personal way in order for them to get involved. Think about it, problems that touch you personally often cause you to feel some sort of anger, frustration, empathy or concern.
Maybe you can’t relate to any of the above scenarios. So maybe you don’t feel any sense of care or compassion.
So let me ask you a serious question. Beyond your family, your circumstances and your problems, what do you care about?
If you do empathize with any of the aforementioned scenarios do you care enough to do something about it?
What would you change about the world if you had the money, time or resources? What are the things you see happening around you that you don’t like?
You might say “Maya, the problems of this world are so wide spread, what can I do to make a difference? I don’t know where to start, I don’t have the funds, resources or ability.”
I understand that because I often feel the same way; let’s face it we are all busy with our daily lives, responsibilities and obligations. No one’s exactly sitting around twiddling their thumbs.
It sounds so cliché and I know you’ve heard it a 1000 times but change starts with just one person.
Life Point: You really can be the change you want to see in the world.
John Mayer, wrote a great song about waiting on the world to change. What good is it to observe all the problems in society but wait on someone else to do something about it? I hear so many people say “well the government should do such-and such”, or “those people need to fix this community!” From the President, to “the Man” to government administration, it’s always somebody ELSE that needs to do something. Somehow it’s never us. I guess that’s because we feel we didn’t create the problem in the first place, therefore we’re not responsible? Right?
So where can you go to start affecting change?
Tangible ways to affect change include contributing to worthy causes, campaigns or organizations by donating your money or time. Look up local organizations that support causes you care about and assist in fighting against those injustices. Volunteer your time, money or other skill/ability. Even just once a month or once every three months can make a difference. Start small but just get started! Even if you volunteered once every six months thats better than nothing.
Mentor a child, help a neighbor with a need or spend some time at an elderly home. There are numerous creative ways to use your talents, gifts and abilities for worthy causes. The ALS ice bucket challenge was popular during the summer of 2014. Then like many other fads it quickly disappeared. All the money that was raised during the highlight of this fad was great but then what? Don’t do something just because it’s a fad, do it because you’re called to care for others.
The biggest problem in the world is that there are too many people not doing anything about any of the problems in the world.
Too many people talk about the world’s problems but don’t follow up with any action. Many men and women say “oh that’s so sad”, “somebody should do something”, “that’s not right!”, etc etc. After the anger and frustration and sadness there is often no action by people, whether they are a faith based person or not.
Voicing your opinion on social media is well within your right and might make you feel like you’re taking action but then what? At the end of the day empty words mean nothing when there’s no action behind them.
If you are a follower of Jesus you’re called to care for the hurting, poor, abused, neglected, forgotten, sick etc. All of the problems in the world fall into this category. Whether you are an Atheist, Agnostic or Christian the fact that you’re able to read this blog means you’re doing somewhat well off and you owe it to the universe to give back and make this world a better place.
Whatever your problem is think about how you would feel if somebody out there had the solution but they were too lazy, selfish or un-concerned to share it with you. How would you feel? Well, that could be exactly what you’re doing by not serving the world in some capacity to assist with its problems.
You don’t have to have your whole life together to help someone else either, a lot of people think that once they get to a better place in their life, then they’ll give back. That’s a misconception; you can help people from your place of pain. I was raised in a single parent home and after I became an adult I realized my upbringing caused some sadness for me. I decided to mentor young girls who also came from single parent homes at my church, thereby hopefully making someone else’s journey a little easier than mine. 🙂
It does not have to be Thanksgiving, Christmas or some other special holiday to give back. One of the things that really bothers me about our society is that often people only think of others after they have all of their needs met and usually sometime around the holidays when we are supposed to be in a so called “giving mood”. Well, why can’t we be in a giving mood all the time? Jesus gave—all—the—time. If you follow him you are called to give too, and not just to the people you love (kids, spouse, mom, dad, relatives) or who can do something for you (business partner, client, etc). Give something to somebody you’ll never meet. Who can never do anything for you. I once heard someone say that the greatest love is being a parent. I can’t say because I’m not a parent but I’d argue that the greatest love is giving something to someone who can never give anything back to you.
Jesus gave to and for his friends, enemies and strangers alike. Pause and think about if you would give something for someone who cursed you out as you were dying. That’s the greatest love.
So what’s your passion? It doesn’t have to be helping little kids like me, it could be rescuing and re-habilitating injured animals, feeding and clothing the homeless or assisting children with special needs; whatever it is decide what you can do to help make a difference in the world.
So what are you going to do to make this world a better place? You don’t have to have kids to think about making this planet a better place to live. Begin today. You are the solution to all the problems in the world.