By Denton Josey, Page Editor
That message, in four different languages, stands on a sign in front of a memorial to victims of the genocide in Rwanda.
Recently, I finished Paul Rusesabagina’s autobiography.
Paul is better known as the guy Don Cheadle played in the movie Hotel Rwanda. A hellish genocide took over Rowanda in 1994, and the whole nation of was greatly affected. Hundreds of thousands of people died.
But Rusesabagina saved thousands. The entire world watched without acting; Europe and the United States ignored what was happening in Rwanda when they could have helped. Something I read in the book really stuck with me.
“A sad truth of human nature is that it is hard to care for people when they are abstractions, hard to care when it is not you or somebody close to you. Unless the world community can stop finding ways to dither in the face of this monstrous threat to humanity, those words Never Again will persist in being one of the most abused phrases in the English language and one of the greatest lies of our time.”
How true that is to me. I’m a lot better, as most of us are, at caring for someone I know. I’ll skip classes to talk with a friend that needs me; I’ll fly cross country to be with someone I care for. But when people die because of disasters on the other side of the world, I just think about what a shame it is; I question God’s sovereignty and plans, but I don’t buy a plane ticket and go help people rebuild and recover.
Here’s the point: I’m not out to guilt everyone, including myself into responding to crises all over the world by direct action. I applaud those that do. But maybe we need to develop a mindset that cares more for community and action.
I don’t think this means a Christian in Africa needs to come comfort me when I get a broken heart or when my car breaks down. That’s more of a love the people around me should supply. But unless I do what I can for people outside of my group of friends, outside of ACU or Abilene, I think I’m missing out on life.
We’re given a lot here at ACU, so I reckon we should share what we have, even with people far away.
Maybe that looks like sending money to Africa, maybe it looks like going there personally. Maybe it looks like remembering 9/11 with reverence, maybe it looks like going to Louisiana to finish cleaning up. Or maybe it is just flipping through this paper and seeing where there are local needs.
We need to learn to care. Until we do, tragedies like the ones in Rwanda and the ongoing tragedy of people saying they follow Jesus, but not acting like him, will continue.