When the World Looks Like a Scary Place

December 9, 2015

The past few weeks have been hard for all of us around the world—bombings, terrorism, shootings, and hate-filled words spewed by those who would do harm to others have left my heart and soul a little battered. I've had to shut down and unplug from any form of media for hours at a time.

I've been saddened by responses I've seen that would automatically exclude others from protection and care. I've heard a lot of me and mine above all else.

This morning I read Jesus' words, written in Matthew 25:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"

Just last week, the sister of one of our elderly neighbors, whom he was very close to, passed away. Within a day or two I’d had three conversations with other neighbors about how he was doing, who’d be visiting when and ways we could help and support him. My family and I sent flowers, brought desserts, gave lots of hugs, and attended the wake—all to show support to someone who has become so dear to us.

Afterward I sat and wondered how different my life would be if I’d never let these strangers in. These neighbors—who’ve become more like family—have created community for myself and my family that feels like a warm, comforting blanket on a cold night. A safe place.

And I think of my friend who traveled halfway across the world in the past few weeks to be with people she’d never met, strangers, and how she was changed by their love and care for each other and her. She said she was struck by how much more alike we all are than different. How an unfamiliar place can become familiar if we’re open to it.

And I begin to wonder if opening the doors to my home and my heart is a better answer to all the pain and suffering the world is experiencing that shouting about what’s wrong with everything, making blanket judgements about people, or locking my doors up tight ever could be.

I wonder if getting to know others and allowing relationships and conversations to start is a better safety plan than any weapon ever could be.

Fear will not have the last word in my life or my world, and you shouldn’t let it, either. Am I naive? Maybe. But Jesus said to love others and so I believe it, and God help me as I try to live it out. It may not be easy, but it sure seems right.

Love wins. Every time. Let’s keep reminding ourselves of this truth as we extend a hand of kindness, of friendship, to those around us or even halfway around the world.

Today we are once again linking up with Holley Gerth and Jennifer Dukes Lee.


  1. Your last paragraph sums it up...LOVE WINS! That it does, and thanks for the reminder to keep the doors of our heart open to others. Came over from Coffee For Your Heart...thanks for sharing a piece of your heart with others today! :-)

  2. These words are so reassuring: "Love wins. Every time. Let’s keep reminding ourselves of this truth as we extend a hand of kindness, of friendship, to those around us or even halfway around the world." Loving others can be time consuming and messy. Yet beneath the skin we are all the same, with similar needs and pain. I love the way you suggest that we should let one another in and share life together as much as we can. Maybe if we start to feel safe with other people it will lead to greater relaxation, less hostility or mistrust and peace shining forth rather than weapons of war being forged. I'd like to think that might be possible to some degree in this lifetime and more fully in fulfilment of the kingdom of God to come.Thank you for your good word, Kendra. Blessed to be your neighbour at #TellHisStory :)