One thing the last several days of terrorist attacks have left us all feeling is uncertain. It seems impossible to fight something so pervasive. You may have even thought there’s just nothing we can do about it.
What if we could actually fight the terror?
Community is our best weapon. Not just any community but the kind of community that builds you up, helps you fight your own self-doubt and keeps you engaged in good. Community gives us a place to belong; a place to discover ourselves; a place that fights isolation and abandonment and even fear. Jean Vanier in his book From Brokenness to Community, basically says that to love someone in community reveals their capacity for life! How can you extend that kind of community to more people? Who in your world needs to be a part of a community like that and how can you be part of making it happen?
If community is the best weapon, then development is the absolute mechanism for the fight. Each of us are in the development business. Whether you are butcher, banker, or candlestick maker, you are in the people development business. If we all recognized that our purpose is to invest in the people around us, we could drive out terrorism. If we started developing the person in the cubicle next to us, the neighbor next door and our child’s best friend, there would be far fewer people who have been left uncared for, discouraged, discontent and generally abandoned. Jean Vanier emphasizes that if I’m growing toward wholeness, then I will be an agent of wholeness. How can you encourage the next person forward? What could you say or do that would leave the people in your world better?
At the ripe old age of 28, I found myself a bitter old woman. Thankfully a women 30 years my senior scooped me up and began to mentor me, challenge my rough edges, refuse my sorry excuses and invest in me like my mother. I was rescued from the attitudes of resentment and revenge and tutored in contentment and forgiveness. The community and development that came from that one relationship liberated me from a lifetime of hate.
The best way to fight terrorism is to look for a community that loves you; connect everyone you cross paths with to a community that will love them. Then make it your objective in life to invest in as many people as you are able and encourage others to invest in the ones around them. Fight being terrified with belonging, engaging, investing, encouraging, not with fear, hate, withdrawal, and isolation. Belonging, engaging, investing, being encouraged will also go a long way to prevent people in your neighborhood from wanting to terrorize.
I'd love to hear from you. Where are you being encouraged? How are you investing in others?