1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Who needs encouragement? I believe we all need it, although some more than others. The first encouraging thing we can do is notice when someone is struggling. I believe the simplest human action is to not look away and empathize with the person in need. It is hard to be of any encouragement, unless we try to put ourselves in another person’s shoes. If we avoid this step, all we can offer are empty words. Worse yet, we find nothing useful to say. Our silence breeds ignorance and in a worse-case-scenario kills people, as it presently happens in our country.

We have a homegrown problem that has spread its poison throughout the history of mankind, and it’s called racism.  World War II is no longer fresh on our minds, but the horrors of holocaust are immortalized in movies, photo footage and written testimonies. Unfortunately, similar human atrocities have continued on in the modern world.

We have mountains to climb and overcome. Racism is a major mountain of collective hate. If hate is targeted to certain groups of people, it is like a boomerang that comes back and hits us in the face. If we hate people groups, in some fashion we also hate ourselves. If we feel the need to distinguish ourselves via the color of our skin then we really don’t like ourselves very much and we fail to understand how much God loves each and every one of us.

In this time of crisis, actions are important. But before taking any action we need to listen well and take a good look. When our body feels pain, then we know that something inside of us is broken. Pain is a sure indicator that something has to change. Our society is in pain right now, and we need to voice our pain and confusion. Even if the ensuing dialogue is awkward, speaking up leaves room for hope. As long as we put our pain into words there is a chance that we find our way out of this predicament.

With an open heart, I am convinced Jesus will provide opportunities to take steps into the right direction. We need to work hard and seek reformation for the long haul. Our determination and dedication is an important part of the solution.

It takes time for a mountain to form; hopefully it won’t take as much time to eliminate it. Words and deeds are needed for encouragement – both create hope and build a better tomorrow. May God help us.

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