My wife recently told me that she often finds it difficult to listen to the news because it is so sad and depressing, I have to agree with her.
Two weeks into the New Year and the news has been dominated by the crisis in the NHS as A&E departments struggle to cope with the pressures being placed upon them. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The war in Syria which has claimed the lives of 76,000 people last year alone, and the dreadful terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead.
It is easy to be left feeling helpless in the face of such suffering, and for any sense of hope and optimism that the world could be a better place in 2015 to quickly evaporate.
Faced by these problems and challenges, what if anything can we do to make the world a better place?
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-14) The thing about salt and light is you don’t need much of it to make a big difference. A pinch of salt can help transform a meal, and even the smallest candle can dispel darkness.
Whilst we may not be able to solve all the world’s problems, we can make a difference.
As Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Small acts of kindness done in love can change the world. It can be something as simple as visiting someone who lives on their own, doing the shopping for an elderly neighbour, remembering always to say thank you, seeking to encourage others, forgiving someone who has hurt you, standing up for justice and fighting racism and fear. These small acts in themselves may not seem much, nor are they likely to make the news, but they do make a big difference.
Whatever 2015 may bring, we can help make the world a better place if we strive to follow the words of John Wesley who said: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”