In the last seven days we've seen a flurry of destructive occurrences around the world. First, the capture and holding of fifteen British sailors by Iran; the kidnapping of a class of students in the Philippines; and the killing spree by Shiite militants and police in Iraq. This is just naming a few of the horrendous events the world has witnessed in the past week. We've also watched the melee in Paris involving 100 youths and riot police, heard about the suicide bombing in Afghanistan killing four civilians, and read about the Gaza Strip shooting and car chase that led to several injuries. Obviously, I could list another dozen incidents that wreaked havoc upon our world recently. With all this depressing news flooding our airwaves it's easy to forget that God is at work in our world and good is happening around us all the time.
On the grand scale, many positive things have been happening all around us lately. According to a recent study by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, criminal violence against intimate partners in the United States fell by nearly two-thirds in recent years and reached a record low in 2006. Peace-building efforts by international organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union as well as interventions by individual African countries have led to a decrease in violence (general combat deaths are down, as well as conflicts involving government troops according to the Human Security Centre) in sub-Saharan Africa over the last recent years. Building on peace efforts over the last ten years, Northern Ireland's arch foes have finally agreed to a power-sharing executive governing body for the province. A recent HIV/AIDS study reports that Isentress, a new AIDS drug, is being lauded by experts as a wonder-drug that works when all other AIDS medications fail. These are just a few of the great stories to come out of our world lately.
On a smaller and more individual level we have also seen great things occur recently. Japanese billionaire, Genshiro Kawamoto opened eight of his twenty-two Hawaiian mansions to poor families for ten years. Oprah Winfrey opened a second school for South African children in poverty-stricken KwaZulu-Natal province, built with money provided by her Angel Network. An 83-year-old Kansas woman spent thirty years driving open roads, picking up aluminum cans, in a single-handed effort to raise enough money to build a community swimming pool for the children in her home town of Eskridge. A New York City taxi driver returned a bag carrying 31 diamond rings to a passenger who earlier had given him a 30-cent tip on an $11 ride. There are literally hundreds of examples of good deeds like these that occur everyday around the world.
The point of mentioning these good stories is not so much to create awareness for these particular breakthroughs and deeds, but more to remind us that good is all around us – sometimes we just have to look for it. We live in a fallen world, a world where sex, sports, and shopping is glorified, while education, manners, and morals are pushed aside. We live in a world where people spend more time watching television than their kids. We live in a world where children are dying of hunger, seniors are dying on the streets, prisons are bursting at their seams, the earth is warming daily, and violence at the local and national level is raging on. Our world is far from perfect, to say the least.
That is why each us must take it upon ourselves to see the good in others, and bring good to others. Each of us – no matter our lot in life – must make the effort to smile at our neighbors, hug a loved one, or listen to a coworker. These simple acts of kindness, combined with the great good happening around the world will continue to transform this world into a safer, healthier, happier place.
Abraham Lincoln once said that most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. When I am overwhelmed by the sad stories on the news, the difficult decisions in my daily life, or the problems facing my family and friends, I think about how I can be happy. I think of the good people around me, the good deeds I see and hear, and the great work happening around our world. I think of how I can do my part to make my world a bit better. And then I smile, thank God, and take another step forward. Time Magazine’s recent cover story argues "Why We Should Teach the Bible in Public School." The question in this article is asked, "Should the Holy Book be on the public school menu? Yes. It’s the bedrock of Western culture. And it's constitutional – as long as we teach but don’t preach it." Now that from Timeless Time is truly good news!!.