An open letter to the world.


Hello citizens of the world,

Today, a friend contacted me and said that she had just checked the news. What did her email say? Just a simple, “:(” What is going on?

I remember my young years growing up in America. I ran across the street freely, I talked to strangers, I could walk to the local pool on my own. At the time, that was how life was. I was thankful we lived in America – I was proud to say the Pledge of Allegiance under God every morning in school.

But clearly something has changed. I remember the first time our school was put on lockdown because someone had carved into the wall that there was a bomb inside of the building. I remember Columbine. And I remember never walking down the hallway to the bathroom at school again without looking where I would be able to hide when a shooter would show up. In my middle school mind, someone coming in with a gun wasn’t an “if,” it was a when.

The headlines today, years later, are worse than ever:

“Man shot by teens – just because.”
“Actor, 29, commits suicide in his Los Angeles apartment.”
“Kids okay after gunfire in Georgia school.”

This used to be the stuff even movie moguls couldn’t come up with. And now it’s my young adult real life. What have we done? What have you done?

The thing is, bad doesn’t just happen. It presents itself as an idea. Maybe it’s in someone’s head who doesn’t ever speak it. Maybe it’s just on an online forum. Or maybe someone really tells someone what they are planning to do, and then it happens anyway. And we’re obviously not noticing soon enough.

Now, I’m not claiming that it’s just your fault that that man was shot while jogging, but I am claiming that it might have been. We’re all connected in this world, and maybe a little less iPhone and a little more real life conversation would let us know when someone is so unwell that these things will happen.

It’s not a debate about guns. Clearly people who want to hurt others can find other ways. But you can find ways to stop it from happening. You are the world, and you are the way we live. It doesn’t just happen.

I see an awful lot of people who could do good, share Jesus, and listen intently to do the right thing for anyone anytime, just not do it. And that? That is not okay. When someone cuts you off in traffic, don’t yell at them. When someone is crossing the road, let them. When your children want to play, don’t be on facebook.

You need to be engaged in the planet on which you live. It’s the little good things that need to come back. They fix it. Drugs will not take you away, alcohol cannot make it better, but telling people about Jesus and treating them like you love them as you love yourself in the grocery store might build the planet we’re trying to achieve in our continuous pursuit of escape.

So, take responsibility for those shootings and that suicide. You. Yes, you. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, seriously evaluate if you can start spending all of your time doing good, kind things. I will tell you; not only can you, but you must. Add patience and understanding to a world. Maybe even having conversations with strangers on a bus. Maybe you saying hi will stop someone from feeling so alone that they must go kill to be noticed.

The downfall of this world is all of us. If we don’t stop it, we let it happen. And it doesn’t improve by just stopping bad. It improves by facing the bad with the good. And seeing that it will win. Please, ask yourself. What more is going to take for you to do something to make this world a better, free, safe, place?

What more is going to take for you to stand up for love and quit sitting and watching the hate win? Please answer, and act. I don’t want to see you be shot because playing Angry Birds on your phone was more important than smiling at someone walking down the sidewalk. You have to save us. And you have to save us now.

Love,
Your Neighbor

PS: Come over and say hi sometime – no need to text.

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