Respond in Love

helping

I, like many of you, have been floored by the news of the violence over the past week. Now, I’m not one to jump on bandwagons and I usually don’t write about this stuff…but as I listen to arguments all around on how we should respond to this situation, I see once again how divided we are as people. It breaks my heart to see us arguing about this or that being responsible. Bottom line…people are dead. Our arguments are not going to bring them back.

I have not been glued to the television, watching the news. I’ve stayed away for the most part because once I start watching news about a tragedy, I cannot stop. I seriously become obsessed.

As I think about the deaths that have occurred from this past week’s events of mass violence…I think back to the other occurrences this year. The one thing that keeps coming back to me is that the people that committed these violent acts were needing something more out of life. They were dissatisfied, lonely, at the end of their rope. It has been said that they had mental issues.

Does this mean that we need to be on the lookout for any person with a mental issue, believing they will hurt others? I don’t think so.

I believe the true root of the issue is that these people felt alone and misplaced. I believe if we each took the time to look around, we would be able to see hurt all around us. We would have the power to stop violence in its tracks. How? Taking the time to love those around us. That student in the hallways walking from class to class with their head down, all alone…go talk to them. Invite them to eat lunch with you and your friends. The girl in the office who stays at her desk and doesn’t engage with any of the co-workers…strike up a conversation. You never know how one small act of kindness could make someone’s day (or life).

If we each would step outside of ourselves and make sure that every person had a friend and felt cared for, I believe that violence would dramatically decrease. I’m so privileged to be a part of a movement called ACTIVATE. Our team goes into our public schools and let’s students know that they each can make a positive difference in this world. I hear from students after these events that they were thankful to finally hear from someone that they matter. As much as I love hearing that I’m part of helping these students see their potential, I’m also heartbroken that so many of our nation’s teenagers have never heard those words before. We all really need to step it up to make people feel like they matter.

I want to challenge you (and myself) to really be on the lookout for the hurting people around us. Take the time to get to know them and love on them. WE are the ones that can make a difference in this world to stop these senseless acts of violence.