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Saturday, July 4, 2009

True Religion Is This. . .

"But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; You consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless." ~Psalm 10:14 NIV

In the last five minutes 20 women were battered in the United States and 1050 children died from abuse or hunger around the world. What are you doing about it?

As I reflected on the tiny things that we obsess about, and read the statistics about how many women and children are being abused daily, every minute, it made me take a step back and think. Here I am, complaining that the bathroom isn't clean, that it's raining when I wish it would be dry, and that I can't sleep because the door keeps banging from the wind, when people are struggling to take their next breath or to find the basic necessities of life like food and shelter.

In class yesterday, a group shared the following clip from YouTube that hit home. I was shocked first, then angry. Now I'm trying to figure out how to channel those emotions into positive actions to help educate men and women so the cycle will stop. I realize that as long as we live in this sick world, it can never completely stop, but one cannot give up hope and say, "oh well, since I can't save the world, I might as well not try to help one person, or two, or more." I have a responsibility, I cannot turn a blind eye and pretend the problem isn't there, and now it remains up to me to decide whether I will choose to stand for right and condemn evil.

I believe that if every single person out there who had a conscience were to do something about it, abuse could be eradicated. Everyone may not be going about it the same way, but we can work together for a needed intervention. One can write articles, one can open up a homeless shelter, one can raise funds, one can be a counselor, one can volunteer, and another can pray.

One of my favourite ministries helps provide for basic needs and education. There are other ministries out there who are active also; we do not have the market on helping others and we cannot do it all. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, I know I want to do it all and I worry that even the small things I can do now aren't enough. But God doesn't ask that we do it all. He says,

si tu donnes ton pain à celui qui a faim et si tu pourvois aux besoins de l'opprimé, la lumière luira pour toi au milieu des ténèbres, et ton obscurité se changera pour toi en clarté de midi, (French)

Geef de hongerigen te eten! Help mensen, die in moeilijkheden zitten! Dan zal uw licht vanuit de duisternis schijnen en de duisternis om u heen zal zo helder worden als het licht overdag. (Dutch)

你 心 若 向 饥 饿 的 人 发 怜 悯 , 使 困 苦 的 人 得 满 足 , 你 的 光 就 必 在 黑 暗 中 发 现 ; 你 的 幽 暗 必 变 如 正 午 (Chinese)

si te dedicas a ayudar a los hambrientos y a saciar la necesidad del desvalido, entonces brillará tu luz en las tinieblas, y como el mediodía será tu noche. (Spanish)

إِن بَذَلْتَ نَفْسَكَ لِلْجَائِعِ، وَأَشْبَعْتَ حَاجَةَ الذَّلِيلِ، فَإِنَّ نُورَكَ يُشْرِقُ فِي الظُّلْمَةِ، وَلَيْلَكَ الدَّامِسَ يُصْبِحُ كَالظُّهْرِ، (Arabic)

und wirst den Hungrigen lassen finden dein Herz und die elende Seele sättigen: so wird dein Licht in der Finsternis aufgehen, und dein Dunkel wird sein wie der Mittag; (German)

주린 자에게 네 심정을 동하며 괴로와하는 자의 마음을 만족케 하면 네 빛이 흑암 중에서 발하여 네 어두움이 낮과 같이 될 것이며 (Korean)

if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. ~Isaiah 58:10 RSV

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