“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8
As Christians we’ve been called to be compassionate and to love one another wholly. With social media, more than ever, we are bombarded with images and stories of people who are struggling in different ways. You could have walked past them on the street or the barista serving you coffee or further afield a child starving in a war-torn country or… you. There are people out there fighting for rights to education, food, shelter and love—fighting for life.
This could be enough to make you collapse in a heap of despair asking, where do I start? How will I make a difference?
- Be Grateful
Don’t feel guilty instead be grateful for all the blessings you have received. These blessings are opportunities, platforms, where you can choose to lift someone up who may be doing it tough. Being grateful is acknowledging that you aren’t walking this road alone. Family, friends, spiritual groups and your relationship with God are fundamental support systems that may have helped you and by passing on that knowledge, can help others.
- Finding a cause
It doesn’t just have to be one cause but it does help when you have a focus. If there is an issue you feel passionate about (maybe something that has a personal pull) this is a good place to start. It’s easy to sign up to a charity and when someone mentions it you say, “Oh yeah, I support that.” However, it’s more effective when you actually engage and be active in the initiative. This could be lending your voice to give awareness to the people around you or donating your time or money.
- Be Curious
Research, research, research! Know what you are actually advocating for. Learn about the organisation running the initiative, the people involved, the goals and the effectiveness of the charity. Look to understand the issue and the reasons the injustices are still prevalent due to certain legislations in place or lack thereof.
You’ve found your cause, now it’s time to connect with people who fighting the same fight. Connect through social media, gatherings, discussion forums, conferences and/or charity drives. Indeed you need a leading voice but when there is a chorus of many, change is possible.
- Be More
Advocating for something you are passionate about requires thick skin. There will be people who have differing views on your chosen social justice issue. Listening and understanding where they are coming from on a particular issue can help you develop and have a clearer view of your stance on the topic.
If you are confronted with hate— be more. Be more gracious, more determined, more compassionate. This is no easy feat but with the grace of God and the need to help others it can be done.
Need some inspiration?
Here are some links initiatives in various categories that you could be involved in.