So how can we honor these martyrs? I suggest we live more victoriously ourselves, being more intentional in our actions, our words, and work, by joining their ministry of power, joy, love, faith, renewal and Amazing Grace, by allowing ourselves to be inspired and informed by the way they lived. We can learn much about shining God's light into darkness by their examples.
Where do we start? What can we give?
While money can do some good just throwing money at something to make ourselves feel better is less effective than investing time and energy to make sure the money is being used for good and not evil according to our best abilities. Being a hands-on volunteer is an excellent way to provide both support and accountability so good programs fulfill their purpose.
Got kids who take time? Take them with you to the homeless shelters to serve meals or to the thrift store to sort and price items or to play with children whose parents are exhausted from holding down two jobs to keep food on the table, not just for a day, but as a way of life.
Is your health poor? Then every time you are in a doctor’s office you can make the choice to be pleasant, paste a smile on your face and be kind to your care givers. Is your praying capacity broken? Make sure your prayers include not only your own needs, but the needs of others and asking God for awareness of ways you can still make a difference in this world.
Are you overwhelmed at work? (If this is not a temporary situation, then think about changing jobs or changing your job!) In the most egregious work stress a few kind words and a willingness to confront bullies and modeling kind behavior is ministry at its best.
I think the biggest thing is to quit buying the nonsense that “my situation is worse that everybody else’s.” How about we agree that lots of folks have lots of challenges and we can’t begin to know how those challenges match up to their abilities. I hate getting out of bed in the morning, but I would never compare that to someone fighting clinical depression and anxiety. So if things are bad for you, consider that at least today you may have more capacity to cope than a person who you think is on easy street. And every day each of us has something to contribute.
Reach out without judgement and with a humble heart. Most of us have a lot of work to do on ourselves, so much in fact that until we have dealt with our own demons there is little time, energy or space to be judging the behavior of others except in truly dangerous situations. There are plenty of kids that need mentors and tutors, plenty of homeless veterans and children, plenty of lonely single parents, and plenty of folks in nursing homes without family to visit and advocate for them. All around us are needs so great that we too often turn our faces away with the pain of it. And look for someone else to make responsible. But there is only one person that God gives me full authority over and responsibility for and that is myself.
So if you are outraged, get busy and lend a hand. It is why we are all here.