No matter what happened in 2016, this photo should have given you some perspective. It was the photo that rocked the world this year. I remember the moment I saw it: I was running on the treadmill reading the news, and had to stop the treadmill and sit down as the tears flowed. No baby should have to go through what this poor child suffered. It angered me, moved me, and stuck with me as the months went by and I heard racist, ignorant rhetoric about Muslims and the Syrian refugee crisis. There are two things this photo taught me.
One: every other headline this year should pale in comparison to the outrage of human suffering taking place in Syria, highlighted and personified by this photo. Every Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton headline and celebrity news story is nothing compared to what this little boy represents. The world is broken, and the fact that Kanye West is having a mental breakdown is made into a bigger deal here in the United States than the fact that children in Yemen are dying of malnutrition every single day, or that Syrian families are trapped in cities that are being blown to pieces, is a travesty. The thought of what those children and their parents are going through makes one repent of ever caring about celebrity gossip or the latest trends. There are so many bigger issues going on in the world. Why should we care what Katy Perry thinks about the election or who Taylor Swift is dating? It literally couldn’t matter less than it already does.
Two: to the Christians and others out there who speak so ignorantly and hatefully of Muslims or whomever you believe our problems stem from, you should be ashamed of yourselves. When I hear people talk like this, 2 Peter 2:12 comes to mind: “But these, as natural brute beasts…speak evil of the things that they understand not…” Yes, terrorism is a problem, but trust me-you don’t have the answer. The answer is certainly not in your callous and ignorant comments. The only answer to this, and the rest of the world’s problems, will come with the Prince of Peace. In the meantime, Micah 6:8 says, “ He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” To see this boy should remind you that every human life is valuable and every person made in the image of God, and that this boy is as precious to God as your child or mine. To speak hatefully is to ignore his humanity and the darkness in your own heart. Racism, ignorance, and insensitivity, no matter who it is directed toward, have no place in the Christian’s life. As Christ hung dying on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” His example is clear-His message is love and the hope of the gospel. Let us not be guilty of sullying His name with hatred and ignorance, but get on our knees and thank God that we have not experienced one tenth the suffering this boy has already undergone in his short life. Then let us follow the example of compassion set for us by our Master:
“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Matthew 9:36