YOU do not need to take a long look at the daily news before you begin to feel a sense of desperation and sadness at the state of our world.
The horrors of the conflict in Gaza, and the passenger flight MH17 shot down over rebel-controlled Eastern Ukraine, are just a couple of current examples of the life-changing pain and suffering we witness in the world today.
Watching on, it is hard to avoid either of the twin extreme responses
1. Disengagement because of ‘compassion fatigue’*, or
2. A depressing sense of helplessness and futility…
What are we to do about these global issues – about these problems of human existence? Enrich Fromm, the German psychologist and humanistic philosopher, once said:
“love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence”
I think he was on to something here.
Of course, Christians believe that Jesus is the perfect example of God’s love – seen most clearly in Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, and that this gracious love of God is indeed needed to heal and make sense of the world today.
Jesus himself teaches a great deal about what God’s love looks like – for example in Matthew: Chapter 5 Jesus says “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
What would it actually look like if this teaching was applied in our world today?
What would it look like for you and me to begin to live like this?
It might not solve the problems in the Middle East, or bring justice and peace Eastern Europe – but it would begin to make some kind of difference.
*Journalism analysts argue that the media has caused widespread compassion fatigue in society by saturating newspapers and news shows with often decontextualized images and stories of tragedy and suffering. This has caused the public to become cynical, or become resistant to helping people who are suffering.