Let’s face it. 2020 has been a WILD ride. And it ain’t over yet! Covid-19. Job loss. Social distancing. Economic hardship. Masking up. Harsh racial realities. Political strife. Layers and layers of social tension. Layers and layers and layers and layers.
And with all of this tension, stress, and strife, surely there’s something we can do to make it better. Surely even the “little guys” like you and me can do something to make things at least a little better. Can’t we? I think so. There is a phrase used over and over throughout the New Testament:
Here are just a few examples of how the Bible urges us to make a difference in this world of people around us (all quotes taken from the NIV 1984):
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” – 1 Peter 4:9-10
“Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing, some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:1-2
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:2-3
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” – Romans 15:7
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:1-4 (Okay, this one doesn’t quite use the exact phrase, but it is one of my very favorite passages of guidance for how we should treat one another.)
My point is simple. We can make 2020 a better year. We can make our world, our nation, our state, our community a better place. We can make the days better for one another. By being kind. By being thoughtful. By being patient. By being gentle. By being honest. By being helpful. By being considerate. By being encouraging. By being positive. By being friendly. By being cheerful. By being prayerful. By being humble.
Engage the person at the checkout or takeout line by name. Since your mask is covering the smile on your mouth, practice smiling with your voice and your eyes.
Let your words on social media lift others up, rather than tearing others down.
Be generous with what you have, whether that is money, time, food, words, ears, or whatever else you may have to offer another.
2016 was an unbelievably difficult year for my community. We experienced a devastating flood that really shook our way of life. But do you know how we got through it? Together. We got through it by neighbors helping neighbors. Strangers helping strangers. Friends helping friends. We cried and laughed and toiled and tore down and built up and ate and prayed and rebuilt together. With one another. By one another. For one another. Because of one another. Wherever you are right now in this wild ride of 2020, remember that your most powerful tool for making things better is ONE ANOTHER!