Those of us who wake up every day in a soft bed under the safety of a roof are privileged. We don’t have to worry each day about whether or not we can feed our families or if we will even survive the night on a park bench. Those of us who have that privilege also have power. We have never had a president stand before us who was once a poor man on the street, nor a king who never had some sort of wealth. So why do we let our privilege go to waste? If we have the power to change the weather in our own homes by turning a dial, we should have the power to change someone else’s life; even if it may be just one person.
So how can you impact someone’s life?
By doing things a good person would do.
A truly good person is not someone who just simply prays. It’s okay to pray, but how much will that impact the person’s life? God only works in time, he does not just make things appear magically- in fact, there’s a reason they call it “God’s work.” He’s not the one who is supposed to be doing the work; the work is up to you. The work is not telling someone what you would’ve done differently in his or her situation. That you would have worked harder, that you would have gone to church more frequently, that maybe you would’ve kept a job. Giving someone life advice on something that is now in the past and out of his or her control is not what makes a person good. Everyone has a story, and I can promise you their story is very different from your own.
Sitting back is never the answer to help solve a problem in someone’s life. You never see scientists, mathematicians, or engineers sit back and watch everything work itself out- you see them solving the problems one step at a time. Sitting at home and hoping that someone else will help those people that you see on the TV is not going to help those people. Liking or sharing a post about a girl with cancer is not going to help her- it may sympathize with her, but it wont help her or make any difference in her life. And there is where the difference lies. Being a good person is not about sympathy, it’s about empathy.
Generosity is buying something expensive for someone “out of the kindness of your own heart” and calling yourself a good person.
Sympathy is when you tell someone sorry for what happened to them. And that’s all fine and dandy until they really need help, and all you can give them is “sorry. I’ll pray for you.”
Empathy is when you truly understand where someone is coming from, and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can make all the difference in feeling the way they feel.
When you see someone on the street begging for whatever you have to spare and you think “Oh, that’s so sad,” and carry on your merry way- that’s sympathy. When you think “Oh, that’s so sad. I think I will go buy him (or her) some food or water” or even “I think I will go home and find that old jacket I never wear any more, so that he (or she) can be warm tonight.” – that’s empathy.
Being a nice person isn’t an easy thing to do, but it is the most rewarding thing to do. If I were to define a “good person” to you, I’d say: someone who has the heart and drive to do something that can impact someone’s else’s life positively. And there are lots of things you can do to be that person. Donating clothes to someone who needs them, or donating toys to children’s hospital, volunteering your time for a good cause and general charity events like Relay For Life-which benefits cancer research, tutoring and teaching underprivileged kids, fostering a child who is in a troubled home, send care packages to people in the midst of disaster (There are many people who could even use your help right now in Florida and Louisiana where there is flooding and hurricane wreckage), giving food to hungry people, or even leading someone who is headed on a rough path in the right direction.
We all live in this world together. It’s not a race to the finish, it’s not a competition to see who ends up better off than others, and it’s not about forcing people to view things the way you do just because you think you’re correct. Because in the end, we all end up in the same place, which is all the more reason to live your life with compassion and love towards everyone around you.