Remembrance Day insists we open our eyes to the injustice and violence that occurred and is occurring around the world. As we honor the veterans who served our country so courageously and faithfully, we cannot help but be confronted with the reasons for their service. The graphic images of war, violence, deprivation, and injustice, assault our senses. For those of us who did not live during this period of history, for those of us who have never lived in a society where warfare predominates, it is impossible to have any authentic sense of what it was like to endure such a situation. We may watch war movies, play graphic war games, be moved to tears by stories of the Holocaust, yet inherently we have a sense our lives are protected. Here, in Kirkland Lake, we do not fear bombs falling on us, terrorists sniping at us, we do not have to fear kidnappings, or beheadings. We live in a very safe environment that can numb us to the plight that others face.
However, Christ calls us to be instruments of justice in an unjust world. What does that mean? How can we make a difference? What can we in Kirkland Lake possibly do to make the world a better place? Let us start with where we are right now, the household, the neighborhood, and the community we live in; the church community we worship in. It seems a small thing, but being kind to your neighbor can make a world of difference to that person. Start by smiling and speaking kind words to the person behind the counter as we get our morning coffee. It is often easier to be kind to a stranger than to be kind to those we live with. While starting these acts of kindness let us make a decision to smile and say kind words to our spouse, our children, and our in-laws.
We look at people who are different from us and we categorize them – some people are acceptable, some are not – and we offer our respect accordingly. Treating people with respect can often be an exercise in self-control when we have been hurt, or offended. It is easy to let cruel words blurt from our mouths while the desire for revenge fills our minds. Scripture informs us to “ Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ.” “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. . . If someone thinks he is religious yet does not control his tongue, he fools himself, his religion is futile.”
It is fitting and right that we remember with hearts of gratefulness the men and women who served their countries so that we might live in freedom today. We must tackle injustice in the world by starting with the roots of discrimination in our own hearts.