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I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Helping spread awareness...

Recently a huge portion of my friends on Facebook have been changing their profile pictures to that of a classic cartoon with the following message:   "Change your FB profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal? To not see a human face on FB till Monday, December 6th. Join the fight against CHILD ABUSE. Copy & paste to your status to invite your friends to do the same."   My first thought was, 'How is changing my profile picture going to prevent child abuse?"   Same goes for all those people who "like" the group "Turn Facebook Pink For 1 Week."  Seriously, what good is that going to do?   But I get it.  That isn't the point.  The purpose of such campaigns is to raise awareness.

I am kind of a cynical person.  I'm not necessarily proud of that but...it is what it is.  As such I have a lot of societal pet peeves.  And one of them happens to be the trend of  "spreading awareness."  I think people already are "aware" that millions of women are diagnosed with breast cancer.  I think people are already "aware" that thousands of woman & children are abused every day.  I think it is pretty impossible that people are unaware of the fact that we live in a world in which we are surrounded by evils--disease, abuse, war, corruption, depression, death, general badness.  I am quite aware of it.  Yet, so what? Are we doing anything about it?  Do we care? I don't think so.

I think awareness campaigns are a joke.  They are a way of making people feel like they are doing something good without causing any real change.  And for many of us...they breed cynics like me because of our lack of FAITH in the systems that are promoting them. 

Now don't get me wrong...I know all the arguments for awareness.  And I agree with the sentiments behind some of them.  I agree with the idea of spreading knowledge.  Without knowledge there won't be change.  I think that it is important that people know the truth about things.  People need to spread TRUTH. (Although what that means has become awfully fuzzy to some people these days.)  And I agree with the idea of fostering & showing support to those dealing with these hardships.  Without support many individuals are left feeling hopeless and unloved.  People need to spread HOPE.  People need to spread LOVE.  But awareness?  Pshh.  What good does that do.  

We don't need to spread awareness.  (Especially with silly things like facebook profile pictures--which from a practical sense are totally useless.)  What we need to spread is TRUTH, FAITH, HOPE & LOVE.  These are things that can affect real change and make a real difference.  If people spread TRUTH than people may start having FAITH again in our ability to actually make a difference.  And if people had FAITH that a difference was or could be made then those who suffer would begin to have real HOPE that they wouldn't have to suffer forever.  And if people got involved and had the truth, faith & hope then people would again begin to show real compassion, charity and LOVE.  And it is really the lack of LOVE that is tearing our society apart...certainly not the lack of awareness.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."  (1 Peter 4:8)

And I say this as a person who really struggles in this area.  In many ways I have tried to avoid getting too close to any suffering so I can avoid the overwhelming sense of hurt that these situations cause my heart...because I don't want to feel compelled to do something because I don't think I can really do any good anyway.  I guess you could say that my cynical heart suffers from a serious HOPE deficiency.  At least when it comes to the ways of the world.

"A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save." Psalm 33:17

"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD." (Psalm 31:34)

I suppose this really says something about my current spiritual condition.  I know the ultimate TRUTH, and I have the ultimate FAITH which produces the ultimate HOPE but I so easily let myself be bogged down by the LIES, TREACHERY & DESPAIR of the world and it blinds me to what living in Christ's authority really means.  

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."  (1 Corinthians13: 12-13)

I guess what I'm saying is that it may be fun to post a picture of Strawberry Shortcake on Facebook and to show others that you are morally against abuse...but don't forget that this is not the same as really helping those who really suffer.  And I pray that I, too,  may learn to view the world with more compassion and to become acutely AWARE of how powerful my position and HOPE in the LORD JESUS CHRIST really is.