By Revd Helen Rengert
As I write this I am very aware of much sadness in the world, such as Beirut, Yemen (very unreported), Muslims in detention in China (also underreported), flooding in Bangladesh, Syria and its refugees, plus so much more.
Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with it that I wonder, please God, get us out of our mess.
I have had so many conversations about why God allows suffering. And it’s a question I ask, too. What is this all about?
Perhaps the question we should ask is why we allow suffering, not why God does.
I wonder about our responsibilities to make any small differences that we can. We now have to think globally; it can’t just be about our patch of the world because we together are the world.
It seems ridiculous that some people have superyachts while others die in inflatable dinghies, escaping difficult regimes and much more. What are we about: self or each other?
Of course, one the great commandments of Jesus was to love God heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbour as much as you love yourself.
This is global thinking; it’s about each other, and we have seen the best of people as they help out during the pandemic, but then selfishness when we ignore restrictions to protect others.
Fight or flight is our natural instinct; so is to be kind. Being kind is our deep communality. It’s when we lose that ability that we lose our very sense of humanity.
There are some people, governments and organisations that have lost kindness, working for self-interest only. We have to call these out: write, lobby, protest and join organisations that have kindness at their core (many do).
Large corporations and organisations need to be held to account as necessary. I was heartened by a retail company that didn’t overstretch its finances and has been able to retain jobs and buildings. This company is good and has kindness written all over it.
So what was the plan? God’s plan was Eden, God’s plan was beauty and abundance and for us to share and look after it.
So be kind and think of others. Shout if you need too, rage if you need too and demonstrate if you need too, but do so with compassion and care and with the hope of change.
In our small (and sometimes big) ways we can be activists for kindness to the world and to each other.