“Use what you love to fight what you hate.”
Rebecca Bender, human trafficking survivor, author, and founder of a nonprofit called the Rebecca Bender Initiative, spoke these words in our chapel this morning. They’ve been ringing in my head all day.
So what does she mean? Use what we love to fight what we hate? A simple concept, for sure, but it has profound implications. Let’s say you’ve got your bachelor’s degree in finance from a high-end institution in New York. You worked a year-long internship that fed into a lucrative job, you’re living in a great apartment and you can finally afford to shop at stores other than Wal-Mart and JC Penny. Good for you. Congratulations on your hot water and your new washing machine and your nice bed with the feather pillows. You’ve made it! But something has been tugging at your heart. As you drive to work in your luxury four-door, the homeless woman on the corner catches your eye. Every morning she stands there, eyes downcast, with a cardboard sign in her hand that says “mother of two, struggling to survive, anything helps.” You’ve heard the stories countless times about people on street corners being scammers, or wasting the money away – it seems pointless to hand out your hard-earned cash at this point; and yet, every morning when you drive by, you feel the need to help her.
Maybe you wake up one morning and toss off your downy comforter, slide into your house slippers and say to yourself, I’m going to fix things. You draw up the plans for some big initiative, starting in your city, soon to be going worldwide to places like Mexico and India; now all you need is – everything. At this point we stop. We have enough motivation, but we’ve convinced ourselves that we need to be the sole fighter, the knight-errant conquering evil dragons all by our own strength. Despite the vast number of initiatives already in existence, we are convinced that in order to help, we need to invent our own.
We don’t have to be the hero. In fact, when we are facing an issue like homelessness, foster care, pornography, or even human trafficking, we need to lean on each other. Each of us are gifted with our own strengths and passions, which we can use to help fight the things that we hate. Rebecca made the point that our contribution doesn’t have to be the big finance degree from Prestige University. Certainly it can be, if you find that you are good at numbers and you enjoy working with them – there are established service groups who need your help. But maybe, despite your degree in Finance, you’ve always been good at writing, or research, or talking to people. Maybe you’re a social media whiz, or you’ve always been adept at knitting! We can use our passions to help battle the evils that we hate in the world. Instead of creating something new – while new initiatives are important – we can contribute to what already exists and make these groups stronger by doing so. Put your knitting needles to good use and find a charity to knit for. Run at a 5k for cancer research. Be the mastermind behind the social media page of a local nonprofit. Write about the issues you care for, and give people resources to be heard.
Use what you love to fight what you hate.
Information taken from Rebecca Binder’s incredible chapel speech, which may be posted later (I will add the link if I can).
Follow her on Instagram: @imrebeccabender or see her website www.rebeccabender.org
While you’re at it, follow Matt Desmond’s pursuits in fighting poverty and homelessness in America. His chapel speech is unavailable, but you can check out his website at www.justshelter.com.