The Things That Move Us To Action Say As Much About Us As the Things That Do Not

September 21, 2015

You and I will have opportunities today.


The rest of this month.

In fact, every day, you and I are probably bombarded with opportunities, all competing for our attention.

The events of the world present us with opportunities to respond. Some people choose to respond to refugees by opening their borders and their homes. Others put up fences, or dredge up reports that say the refugees are “economic” rather than “war” refugees.

The issues of our times present us with opportunities to respond. We can pretend that our society’s institutions are blameless and upright, even in the face of damning evidence. Or we can face the truth and help convince others.

Our everyday interactions present us with opportunities to respond. I am not so sure that social media has made us any more “social.” But every day, we are presented with a million opportunities to get into an online word brawl, to be sucked into foolish arguments over nothing at all.

Last week, I said off hand that the opportunities we take say as much about our character as the opportunities we pass up. And I’ve been thinking about that since then.

There are plenty of opportunities we should pass up. The opportunities that waste our time, waste our words, or waste our energy are good places to start. We can stop throwing our full-hearted allegiance behind big-egoed politicians. We can stop sharing inflammatory half-truths on social media. We can stop towing the party line.

But there are many opportunities that we ignore, and in so doing, we commit the sin of omission.

The words we did not say.

The love we did not share.

The truth we did not demonstrate.

The generosity we did not demonstrate.


This week, you and I will be pummelled with a million opportunities. Some will come our way at work or at home. A few will come through the nightly news or at church. A whole bunch will come through Facebook or Twitter.

And all of those opportunities are choices about the kinds of people we are going to be this week.