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4 reasons why Christians don’t care about changing the world - a response to Libya

In response to the recent human rights abuses in Libya, Isaac Borquaye addresses why we can be scared to act, and gives some advice on what we can do instead.

Footage of men being auctioned off as slaves in Libya has been met with outrage and the UN Secretary-General has called on the international community to "unite in fighting this scourge". The Libyan government launched an investigation into the slave auctions, but said the international community needed to provide more support if it was going to tackle the problem. There is currently a petition gathering pace online to try and get the topic debated in Parliament. Sign up here.

I’ve been reflecting on this and thinking about ways to personally make a difference in the world whether small or big. I think one of our roles as Christians is to counteract negativity with hope. That hope comes from our faith in Jesus. Below I’ve listed 4 reasons why we’re reluctant to make a difference as well as 4 ways in which we can.

4 reasons we’re reluctant

The problem is too big

How can we possibly stop thousands of people being killed by evil people in society. How can we stop 27 million people being illegally trafficked across the world? How can we stop poverty in the developing world? Half of the world’s population live on less than £2.50 a day. That’s 3 billion people. How can we possibly affect 3 billion people in a positive way? The effects of racism have lasted centuries.

It’s unlikely that we could personally do anything to help the situation, isn’t it? We feel compassionate and our hearts cry out for the downtrodden, the forsaken, the persecuted, and the lost. We feel horrible that there are parts of the world where this is happening, and devastated that real human beings have to be subject to such atrocities. We’d love to make the issue go away but with that being said, where do we start?

We don’t care enough

We’re not in Syria where our families are being threatened everyday are we? Even though it’s horrible that some people are, when something doesn’t directly affect us, we become numb to the idea of taking action. We’ve got our own issues at work, at home, at church, so we don’t have time to care enough about others.

Bystander apathy

Someone must be doing something!” Often we believe that there must be enough heroes that are risking it all to do their utmost best to bring an end to the problems that we see in this world. Often we think that person has more time and money than we do and are better equipped to fight the battle than we are. If everyone thought like this, there would be no one actually doing the work.

Compassion fatigue

Advertising is big business. These days you can’t get on a train or watch a TV programme without seeing an advert asking you to donate your coins to a cause which thinks it is best suited to your charitable giving. If there was only one charity in the world, would we feel more inclined to give? Are the many adverts, promotions, and different charities so common that we have desensitised ourselves to their great work?

Money is a great way to help charities combat major issues in society but how can we make sure all of our money is actually going to the right place? We’ve heard horror stories before on how the money we give to some charities gets used in overhead costs or – even worse – spent by corrupt governments.

4 ways we can help

Start with the one

Sometimes we focus on the end goal instead of focusing on getting ourselves started. We’ve heard many a time the great quote which explains that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Let’s start with small actions; let’s start with the one. If you’ve only got a penny to spare, give a penny. Many pennies turn into pounds. As previously mentioned half of the world is living in poverty. Mathematics would tell us that if the other half helped one person, we’d work wonders and possibly end poverty.

Volunteer

Not everything equates to money being donated. Time is a valuable gift. Are there any ways in which you can volunteer at a charity or in your local community? Not everyone is in a position to give financially, but a lot of us are in a position to encourage someone with a conversation.

Pray

Do you genuinely feel like you don’t have spare time or money to help out in the way you’d like to? If so, why not pray? As Christians we know that there is genuine power in prayer and, even though many know this fact, we take it for granted on occasion. The world is full of #PrayFor hashtags where we encourage each other to pray and share different causes online. I wonder how many of the people that tweet about praying for a cause, actually pray.

Speak Up

We all have the power to be advocates. There’s power in the tongue and if we can use our speech to make a difference by educating and influencing people, we can encourage change and raise awareness about issues not everyone may know about. Speaking about injustice with our friends and associates is an important part of making a difference.

I’m as guilty as the next person for coming up with countless excuses why not to help others, but with these 4 simple ways to act….I’m hoping to change my ways! I hope you will too.

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