What is good enough? A reflection on the responses to Paris

This past week the world experienced a great tragedy in Paris. Over 120 people were killed and hundreds more were injured. It was horrific. Evil seemed to have won the day.

Yet as many of my friends on social media turned their profile pictures to one of the French flag, others turned their sights on those who did so. I saw post after post talking about how terrible it was that people were showing signs of compassion for the French when these atrocities are happening every day in developing countries.

This frustrates me; angers me, even.

An international tragedy has struck, the media is covering it extensively, and people don’t know what to do. They want to help in some way; show some sign of support – and Facebook provided that. They temporarily changed their profile photos to the French flag and prayed for all those affected. How dare people attack them for doing so!

I know that there are terrible, evil things happening all over the globe. I know that people are dying every day from AIDS, malaria, hunger, sex trafficking, and terrorism. Tragically, those issues aren’t getting the attention they deserve or the media coverage that is worthy of problems of that magnitude. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish that we could all open our eyes and see the atrocities of the world so that we could truly be making positive change in the world.

However, when an attack happens and the world is taken aback, that is not the time to shame people and try to guilt them into feeling differently about these other issues. Instead, let’s applaud them for being good, decent human beings who care about the loss of human life. Just because they aren’t posting about other issues, does not mean that they are bad people or need to be shamed.

Perhaps we need to be looking at the media in general, asking why they aren’t covering these other issues? And why is the Church silent? Those would be very good places to start. Because as we’ve seen, when people gain the knowledge of atrocities, they often respond with sympathy and with prayer.

Let’s put down the guns we’re aiming at each other, and work together to solve some of these problems. It doesn’t do any good to attack other Christ-followers when they are doing something good, just because in your estimation, it’s not good enough.

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