It is time for change in our world. It isn’t that this in new information or a new situation, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I have been struggling with what to write, or whether to write at all about my reaction to the past week’s news stories.
One day last week I was driving to school in the morning and listening to a young Canadian girl talking about how happy she was that Moammar Ghadafi was dead. News reports were talking about huge parties which had broken out in Libya and among Libyan populations in other places worldwide. While I understand that it is a huge relief that the dictatorship is ended and that people will naturally celebrate a victory after a hard-fought battle for freedom, how did we come to a place where we are teaching our children to celebrate a person’s death? Whatever else he became, Ghadafi was a man, someone’s son, husband, brother, father etc.
Also last week news articles came out about a young man in Ontario who committed suicide. Sad at any time, this case was made more visible by the fact that the 15-year-old had been keeping a blog in which he was very open with the struggles he had with depression and being gay. He spoke of how hard it was being the only openly gay young man at his school and the fact that it was too hard to wait for “It to Get Better” (check out the It Gets Better campaign fighting against suicide amongst LGBT teens)
On the heels of all of this I just watched an episode of Harry’s Law in which the lawyer Harry Corn was the defense lawyer for a teen blogger who was being tried for murder as a result of the suicide of one of her targets. While she had “outed” the girl on her blog, used terrible expressions to refer to her, and even went as far as to encourage her readers to let her know that they “knew” she was gay, she was found not guilty of murder. There were no punches pulled that the bullying had been horrific, nor about the results, and statistics on this problem were brought forward in the trial. In her closing arguments Harry pointed out that it really took a whole community to create such a huge tragedy.
When Jesus was with us, during his ministry, he already knew change was needed. Jesus was a change maker, a boat rocker! He taught us that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds. Second only to that was to love our neighbours as ourselves. The stories from last week represent what my students might call “epic fails!” We need to spend a lot more time actively working to show that we love our neighbours, even the ones with whom we do not agree! We can each start on our own, and we can join with groups like the Humankind one at my school with campaigns like Grow the Glow, anti-bullying days, Ally weeks etc.