Certain images are hard to shake from your mind. It causes an emotional reaction. It kicks around your head leaving your conscience unsettled. I have had several images like that recently. A father holding his lifeless son after they attempted to flee Syria caused my heart to break. Fictitious yet certainly realistic scenes from the new movie Beasts of No Nation that chronicle the horrors of child soldiers in West Africa shook my soul. And, the following image that I saw on Facebook today highlighting the conditions that many children face around the world. I am not certain whether this image is real or not. It doesn’t really matter. The situation is most certainly a reality for many children.
How do you emotionally respond to such an image? It should sadden us. It should challenge us. It should cause us to want to respond. There are many ways in which we can respond. We can donate towards a relief fund that helps those in need. We can sponsor a child through Compassion International. As a family, we sponsor a girl in Columbia who is at risk to the drug trade. It brings us great joy! You can take some time to donate your resources or time at a local food pantry or homeless ministry. Granted our efforts are only a drop in the sea of need that exists around the world. Yet, it helps! It helps one child!
It should prompt some action. It should cause a genuine response to the needs of the world. The response should not be a token handout to soothe our guilt but rather a genuine heartfelt compassion regardless of the amount. It will certainly put our holiday shopping in perspective.
It should prompt thankfulness. In a few weeks we celebrate God’s blessings to us as a nation. Most of us will sit around a table with a feast before our eyes. We will stuff ourselves with our bounty. It is good to take time to celebrate blessings. We should not feel guilty for God’s provision to us. But, we should be thankful – deeply thankful. We should be reminded at how blessed we are in this country, blessings that a majority of the world envies.
It should prompt a changed perspective. We become so consumed with the here and now that we forget the state of millions of people around the world. We quickly complain about slights and inconveniences. We survive the day and then fall into bed for the night – a comfortable, warm, clean bed. Yes, we have needs but they pale in comparison to many people. As we approach the holiday season, let us not simply see an image and gloss over it. Let it impact us – deeply and genuinely.