13 LOVE IN AC TION www.faithtoday.ca/LIA
I wanted to make the world a better place. In retrospect, I don’t
know how I was going to do so but it didn’t matter because I knew
I had the ability to do so. However, as I grew older those dreams
were silenced by fear, insecurity and doubt. Have you ever won-
dered what influenced individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr or
Craig Kielburger to take a stand against injustice? Was there some-
thing about these individuals that caused them to take the actions
that they did? Truth be told they saw an opportunity to make a
change and took the challenge. I am reminded of the story of the
Good Samaritan in the bible, three men had a similar opportunity
to help a man that was in need, but only one took that opportu-
nity. If you have ever taken a moment to ask the question, “why?”
perhaps we could identify some of the reasons that prevent us
from becoming more involved in social matters. Possibly it’s as
simple as we have become disengaged, or maybe we are afraid to
take a stand, or that we don’t think we have what it takes to make
a difference. There are countless opportunities given to us to make
a difference in the life of others, to stand against injustice and
to influence the world around us. However, those opportunities
often present themselves in ways that we may not expect. For the
majority of my childhood I grew up in a small neighbourhood in
Guyana; I had a fairly normal childhood, however during my teen
years my once quite neighbourhood became notorious for gangs
and gun violence. As I watched my community fall apart, I had lost
hope that things were going to change. The more I focused on
the magnitude of the problems of gun violence, corruption and
inequality that faced my community, I felt powerless to change it.
I wish I had done something to save my community but here are
some of the lessons I learnt from being passive:
#1) No one can take away your personal power but you
can chose to surrender it.
Was I powerless? No, I wasn’t but I perceived myself as being
powerless, therefore I did nothing. Sitting on the sidelines will
give you front row seats to criticize what others are doing but
it changes nothing.
#2) Change is a process.
I would argue that the biggest hindrance to change is that we
can become so preoccupied with the problem that we fail to
identify the solution. To change the situation in my neighbourhood in my mind meant I had to tackle the problem as a
whole, but I had failed to realize that change, like many other
things, was a step-by-step process.
#3) Teamwork is vital.
I visited my old neighbourhood last year and found that it
had been restored for the most part because the community
had rallied together to restore the neighbourhood. I could
have been a part of that change had I chosen not to believe
the lie that there was nothing I could do to help. If you feel
overwhelmed by the task at hand, find a group of people that
will be committed to help. I am learning that it’s okay to ask
for the help of others, you don’t have to tackle it alone.
Every day we are all presented with opportunities to change
the world around us; whether we take them is up to us.
Choosing to believe that we are powerless to change the
world actually hinders us from becoming the change we
desire to see. Instead, choose to believe that you can. You are
a solution to a problem in our world.
BY. JAMILA HOLDER