The visionary, the fighter, those who lead demonstrations, spearhead petitions and always fight for other people's rights. They are role models, people we look up to and admire. And that is what the world needs: more people who are willing to go the extra mile for others. But there is another aspect to this.
Often people only see the major tragedies or things that need to be fixed in the world without seeing the small things right in front of them that need fixing too. This blog post is not about pointing fingers but about creating the awareness that your neighbor could be in as much need, as the homeless child at the end of the world. "And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”" Mark 12:30-31 NLT
Only God knows why this particular verse was written down in this manner but I believe that one of the reasons is that many people struggle with lending a helping hand because it just seems like this huge task that is nearly impossible to accomplish. Who could single-handedly end world hunger for example? But to help your neighbor that should be fairly easy, isn't it? Someone that is in close proximity and can be accessed without too many hindrances. That sounds completely reasonable. So, let's roll up our sleeves and do this! "Neighbors help mission" activated!
Well, if it is that easy how come many of us struggle with this part of life? How come we can shake our heads at all the injustice and suffering in the world but cannot find anything nice to say about our colleague at work for instance? Or why do we shift away when a homeless person comes close to us on the train? Why is there this split second of: "That serves you right", when someone we dislike encounters something negative?
One reason could be because we can't see the bigger picture - only the categories that make sense to us. It seems logical that thinking of the world as a whole and what happens in it is the definition of the "bigger picture". Yet, paradoxically, it's not, because failing to realize that your neighbor is part of this ecosystem called the world and understanding that your one good deed could jump-start a chain reaction of more good deeds that would eventually reach that person in need on the other side of the planet, is actually the bigger picture.
It doesn't require a special degree or extraordinary fighting spirit to be someone who changes things in this world. What it takes is the desire and compassion to do so. Next time you wonder what your contribution could be to make the world a bit better, remember your neighbor!