15 Feb Build Individuals, Build the Nation
A tiny idea, one small decision, or even a few words you speak today can help build your nation. Building a nation is the process of building or reconstructing the economy, technology, education system, military, democracy, government, and the society. Each of these processes start with the building of people at an individual level and that in turn starts with building oneself. Let us take a few seconds to ponder upon our life, our words, and our attitude. Are they building up someone or tearing them down?
Your emotions are the result of the things you feed your mind with: Building our nation, discovering our role, and creating something new – they all start with that one idea in our head. Your emotional wellbeing is as important as the other things in your life because “your emotions and thoughts drive your actions”, and what you feed your mind with, drives your emotions in turn. We all have the choice of feeding our minds with gossips, hurtful words of people, wrong advice, and false hopes on the media or feeding it with the Bread of life, which God has given us – His word which is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.
The sacrifices of so many men and women who fought for the independence of our country had one thing in common, though they were overwhelmed in pain and agony and were coerced to give up, they did not let these outward circumstances affect their inward emotions eventually leading to their fearless sacrifice for victory. A quote by B.R. Ambedkar reminds us that Freedom of mind is real freedom. Remind yourself daily that “just because a thought exists in your mind it isn’t true.” Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” May the Lord help us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Him.
Cultivate Empowerment: Empowerment is a sense of authority that one holds, whether male or female, child or adult, rich or poor. It is much needed but still lacking in our country, especially among the women, girls, lower-income and discriminated people, etc. Empowerment is a concept we learn since our school days but I doubt if we apply that knowledge in real life. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “ Be the change you wish to see the most in this world.” For instance, several people in day-to-day situations are bullied in college or the workplace because of their clothing or accent. Be the one to raise your voice against this rather than avoiding them. In recent years, the only rising numbers our country has read about in the newspapers are brutal, heinous sexual assaults against women. According to the latest NCRB report, 2019 saw over 4 lakh reported cases of crimes against women, up from 3.78 lakh in 2018 and 3.59 lakh cases in 2017. Doesn’t this burn our hearts? If you want to help make your country a safer and a better place, then instead of ignoring this major problem, blaming the victims, or tolerating this inexcusable culture you need to amplify the voices of survivors and educate people around you about this. By standing up for such major causes which can build our country, you can cultivate empowerment and then you will yourself feel empowered.
How do you use the mightiest part of your body? – Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that the tongue has the power of life and death. We need to guard our lips to preserve our lives and the lives of others around us. A few words uttered by us without assurance or complete information can turn into gossip and hurt people deeply. We are accountable for every word we speak to others. The more we spend time reading God’s word, praying, watching quality content on social media, the more wholesome our conversations will be. Think about how your day-to-day conversations with friends in the college or with relatives at gatherings or with people in the workplace have pulled them closer to God? These are famous words by the Nightingale of India, Sarojini Naidu; We want deeper sincerity of motive, a greater courage in speech, and earnestness in action.
Salt and light: Be like salt, adding flavour wherever you go, use it to preserve a godly character, as mentioned in Leviticus 2:13, season your life with salt which you offer to God as a living sacrifice. Ask God’s help to shine bright for Him in this dark and fallen world so that the people around us may come to know Jesus. As you study in various colleges of this country, work at certain places and walk through so many campuses, pray that your life may be salt and light wherever you set your foot in this nation. We can spread the love of Jesus by small stepping stones around us such as; Praying for our classmates when they aren’t doing very well, extending your hand to a co-worker who is in need, inviting your non-believing friends to gospel programs, encouraging them by sending weekly Bible verses and personally evangelizing them, helping them improve their spoken English and guide them for a future career, cooking meals for helping out families during desperate times, Spending time with them on occasions such as Christmas and reaching out to them with the gospel. Setting an example of integrity and purity in front of them and abiding by the laws of this nation as responsible citizens, taking care of not just the people around us but also the environment.
The neighbours around us, the crowds on the roads, and the authorities placed above us may not be able to encounter the gospel by reading it but they surely will read our lives. You have been planted in this country for a wonderful purpose by God, so bloom wherever you are planted. Are you being the salt and light for God in this nation? Are you cultivating empowerment among the citizens? Is your overall attitude on your campus, pleasing to God? Is your way of talking to people on the city roads or shopkeepers full of compassion? Are you honest in your profession and working hard in your chosen career? If your words and actions can help build or encourage even one person today, that is not insignificant, that is not in vain. Discover your role in building your nation, start by building one person, I chose to start by first building myself. What about you? God used a simple fisherman like Peter as a rock to build His church on. God used Moses, who was not eloquent in his speech to lead the nation of Israel. God does not require your quality, He requires your availability. Do you want to discover your role in building your nation? God is calling you to discover it, are you available?
Stuti Farmer is a student of ICEU Dehradun and a member of UESI Communication & Networking Department