Life has meaning? Part IV
How do you live in an evil world?
“If God loves us, how come we suffer? God must will the evil to be present or else he would not have created it.” Nobody likes accepting the blame for something when it goes wrong. That is why most people look to God, blaming him for the evil in the world. They hold God responsible for the evil in the world, when in reality it is our fault. How many times do we walk by someone and not offer to assist them? How many times do we say something rude to someone or gossip about someone? The problems in the world are not willed by God; they are willed by we who do not stop to consider the after effects of our actions.
The next question people ask in regards to evil in the world is this: “Why should I resist evil if nothing I do will make a difference?” A priest once told a story:
There was a woman who lived along a beach. Every morning, the woman would walk along the beach, pick up the starfish, and throw them back into the sea. One day, a young man watched as she picked up the starfish and returned them to the sea. He looked at the coastline, scattered with starfish, and thought to himself that the woman’s attempt to rescue the starfish was ridiculous. He walked down to the beach and confronted her. “There are so many starfish on the shore that are going to die; rescuing a few of them is not going to make a difference.” The woman looked at the young man then bent down and picked another starfish and through it in the water. When she finished, she looked back at him and said, “It did to that one.”
This is the attitude that people should have when viewing evil in the world. They cannot change the entire world, so they should start by changing their community first. For example, I once was a part of the Anchorage Youth Court, a division of the juvenile justice system in Anchorage, Alaska. We conducted sentencing hearings for juveniles who committed misdemeanor crimes (YES! They were REAL crimes NOT mock crimes), assigning a sentence of community service hours, an essay, and an anti-shoplifting class. The purpose of Anchorage Youth Court was to allow juvenile offenders a second chance; however, more often than not, the defendants were caught stealing again and returned to McLaughlin Youth Center. One day, I overheard my fellow judge asking what good Anchorage Youth Court was doing if most of the defendants were returned to McLaughlin Youth Center. This question struck me. She, like so many people (and myself included), believed that in order to make a difference, a large number of people must be helped. It was at this point that I realized in order to make a difference, all I needed to do is better the life of one person. If the nine hours a week I spent with Anchorage Youth Court only affected the life of one of my defendants, then my time with Anchorage Youth Court was well spent.
Through word and deed, people can make a difference in the lives of individuals in their community. After all, the world cannot change unless the people change. To get the people to change, one must first change themselves.
To be continued . . .