Earthquakes. Famines. Wars and rumors of wars. Pestilences. Heartache. Betrayal. Strife among people. Hatred and apathy. The problems in the world can seem very overwhelming at times. When we compound it with our own problems, they can seem unbearable! In fact, sometimes things can seem so insurmountable, we do and say nothing. We are paralyzed with fear and anguish. However, all these things can also propel us to right action, if we know how to help some of those in need. Here are some situations either in the world around us or perhaps in our own lives that can seem “big” or “heavy,” but we can redeem for the benefit of those involved in these problems. Here’s how YOU can personally make a difference:
The natural disasters in the world
- If you are spiritual, pray for those affected by the wildfires in California and surrounding areas, the hurricanes that have ravaged or are ravaging Texas, parts of Lousiana, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Carribean Islands. Pray that they will be provided with all that they need and for replacement of all that was lost. Pray for peace, comfort, and strength for those affected by the storms and their families that are concerned about them.
- Donate to a reputable organization that will give (and are giving) to those in need in the affected areas. Some of them are: a.) Red Cross b.) Convoy of Hope c.) others. <—this article of organizations focuses on relief for Hurricane Harvey, but many of these help people affected by the other disasters as well.
- If you can, go to these affected areas and volunteer in the rebuilding and the relief efforts there.
- Spread awareness for these people being ravaged by these catastrophic events. Let people know that these people are hurting and in need of help. That way, everyone will be aware of what’s happening and can also help in any way they are able.
Those affected by abuse and bullying
- Never ever blame the abuse or bullying survivor for the abuse. — Remind them that the abuse was not their fault. Abuse is totally and will always be the abuser’s fault. They are able to control their actions. No one can make someone else abuse another.
- Encourage the survivor of their inherent value.-– Many times abuse survivors have been made to feel worthless and useless, even unworthy of love. If we want to be allies to these people, we remind them of their inherent pricelessness again! This not only means that if they do something right, praise them, but also reminding and demonstrating to them they are still priceless and loved even if they make a mistake or sin. We can do this by helping them through their failures and doubts, and by striving to be committed to being there for them whenever they need us.
- Make sure to model good boundaries to them.— This means striving not to control or manipulate them in any way. Bullied and abused people usually (if not always) have had their boundaries or safety violated in some way, and their trust shattered. Do not attempt to make decisions for them, unless you are already in a position of authority over them. Never use them to your own ends, otherwise, they will feel abused all over again, by you! For instance, if you want to show affection to them, but they are hesitant to, respect them and restrain your wants and desires. This is not about you! If you wrong them or make a mistake, sincerely apologize to them and commit to never repeating the same mistake again. Show you can be trusted.
EDIT: Many, but NOT all, people who have been abused also struggle with mental health issues because of the trauma. It is important to note though, that NOT all people with mental health problems have been abused. But if someone you know has been abused AND is struggling with mental illness, this is a GREAT resource: https://ashipofmyownmaking.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/10-ways-you-can-help-a-mentally-ill-friend/
Those affected by poverty
- Donate to reputable organizations such as the Red Cross and Unicef. –These organizations help by giving much-needed food and water to those in need.
- When you give to them, expect nothing back.–When you give to the poor, whether your time or finances, make sure it is with pure motives. Do not give to them, just to get a tax break, or to get something in return from them later. Give because it is the right thing to do. Give because it gives you joy to see them happy and fulfilled. Do it for them, not yourself.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or other organization—Look for opportunities in your area to help those affected by poverty. One organization, for those living in the Chicagoland area, is called Feed My Starving Children. They pack food for people in need around the world. You can help by volunteering to help pack these meals. Their website is: https://volunteer.fmsc.org/register/
- Spread awareness about the issue of poverty.–Write about the struggles of people living in poverty, not to embarrass or shame them, but so that people will know how serious an issue it is, and also to dispel myths about people living in poverty. I know a lot of people who think that if you live in poverty, you must be lazy and/or uneducated. However, I have found through my own research and listening to others’ experiences, that this is often not the case, and the causes of poverty are more complicated that one thinks.
These are just some ways to care about people in need. What are some ways you can think of to help those in need? Encourage and love someone today. You can perhaps help save a life!