“[Jesus said:] Here on earth you may have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33 (NLT)
These are confusing times. In the first article of the series, Lessons from Lockdown, we heard that the Mafia were providing food for the needy; and in the second article we heard that Christians were rioting. It certainly has become a topsy turvy world.
El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America (according to Wikipedia), a land of volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. And despite it’s mostly Christian population (47% Roman Catholic and 33% Protestant, according to Wikipedia) it also has the unenviable and staggering statistic of seeing murder rates of around 600 per month prior to the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, murder rates have plummeted since the start of the pandemic, falling immediately to 65 in the month of March, and it was reported that there were even four days with no single murder, according to the country’s Public Safety and Justice Minister (abcnews.go.com). It seems tragic that to have no murders committed in a day is deemed to be news. Surely, in modern day society, it should be the norm.
So, some good has come out from the Coronavirus pandemic, then? The world is a better place as a result, or so it seems.
Let us take a global view. If we’re not out there killing other people, what are we – the population of the world – doing instead? Sadly, the lockdown has also seen the desperation of the depravity of man – crime, abuse and pornography use during lockdown has soared.
As lockdown started, many countries showed a huge spike in numbers accessing pornographic websites – ranging from 25% to 95% – with the highest numbers in India (according to the news website indiatoday.in).
And as well as pornography use increasing as we close our doors to the outside world, so has domestic abuse. The United Nations went as far as describing the worldwide increase in domestic abuse as a “shadow pandemic” alongside COVID-19 (according to the BBC news website).
The world as we know it; for better, for worse
This is the reality of the world we live in. For better, for worse; this is it. We cannot divorce ourselves from the world. We might try and cocoon ourselves and hide away from the world, but we cannot escape it. And the current Coronavirus crisis has made some things better, but some things worse.
All we can do is try to make the world a better place for those around us – for our own families, our children; for our community, our neighbourhood; and in some cases, we can try to make the world a better place for our towns and cities, our counties and our country. We can shine a light into the dark places; we can encourage instead of getting enraged; we can build up, instead of tearing down; we can reach out, instead of holding back; we can seek to comfort rather than criticise; we can step up, where others shy away; we can speak out, when others are silent. We can bring life, where there is spiritual and moral decay and death. We can show love, when others may loathe.
We may be locked down, but we must reach out. We must try to reach those who are lost, lonely, lepers; we must try to reach those who are struggling and suffering; we must try to mend the broken, comfort the mourning, and be mindful of the vulnerable. Will you do that today? Will you reach out to those who come to your mind, who are in your heart, and who may be longing for some release?
And if you are the one who is feeling lost and lonely, who is struggling and suffering, broken or mourning, or vulnerable and longing for some release; if that is you today, may you find some comfort and some peace. We ask this in the precious name of our Saviour, Christ Jesus; Amen.
If you’re in need, we would like to pray for you – please get in touch. Don’t feel as though you have to battle alone – Jesus loves you and cares for you. May God Bless You.
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