I’m an American, a citizen of the United States and unless something unexpected or drastic happens, that’s not changing anytime soon. However, I’m living in a very multicultural city in Australia and meeting new people every day. It doesn’t seem to matter what their background, pretty much everyone has some sort of interest in US politics. I couldn’t escape the conversations if I tried, so I don’t try to avoid them, I listen. Listening allows me to hear what others think and also gives me input to continually reexamine and check my own attitudes and assumptions as well as values and beliefs. I am generally encouraged by these conversations and my personal convictions are strengthened, although I am often challenged to look deeper into certain issues and policies. Conversations aside, I do realize that I am somewhat removed from US current events. Although, the news here covers the main issues and my Facebook feed is an ever present reminder. But I’m not in the US so, even if I wanted to, I can’t join the marches and protests. I am not around to be a part of certain US organizations that are on the frontline when it comes to refugee resettlement. I don’t have the time or the energy to devote to writing to US political leaders or to organize something more substantial. Even if I was still in my safe, insulated US community, I would probably find it difficult to engage appropriately with the current policies that I agree or disagree with. This is what, in my experience, often leads to apathy. I can’t be the only one who recognizes something should be done but then doesn’t have the time, energy, resources and/or knowledge to do anything that might be deemed worthwhile. So what are our options?
- Pray – Pray for wisdom (James 1:5). Pray for your leaders (I Timothy 2:1,2). Pray for your enemies (Matthew 5:44). Pray for those who agree with you. Pray for those who disagree with you. Pray.
- Read the Bible- Justice (Isaiah 1:17), mercy (Micah 6:8), love (Leviticus 19:18), compassion (Matthew 25:25-37), all of this and more is addressed in the pages of scripture. I didn’t struggle to find verses here, the struggle was to choose just a few. The Bible is an amazingly rich and holy resource.
- Love your Neighbor- I mean your neighbor in the broader sense of Luke 10 (the parable of the Good Samaritan). Your neighbors are those people you come into contact with during your daily life. This can be as simple as loving and serving your family in your home, the person across the street, the man or woman who is driving next to you on the road, the person bagging your groceries, serving your meal at a restaurant, etc.
- Do What You Can- There are a lot of important issues that we can advocate for and be passionate about but refugees are close to my heart. World Relief, one organization that I have worked with and respect just posted this to their blog: 3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Show Support for Refugees. There are probably simple things to do online or in your community for almost every social cause that needs attention.
As divided as my Facebook feed is at the moment, I am generally encouraged by the real discussions that are happening, the hypocrisy that is being confronted across the board and those who are rising up to the challenge of practicing what they are preaching. I can not fight every battle and shout from the mountain tops over every important issue. But I can pray, I can read my Bible, I can love my neighbor and I can do what I can to live justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.