Malala Yousafzai, the 16 year-old Pakistani girl who defied the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education and was shot in the head but survived, has been granted the European Human Rights Award. Many thought she would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, it went to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Malala wanted to change the world as she knew it in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled areas and beyond.
She has been campaigning for education for girls. She has a mission and has been pursuing it with great success since she was ten years old. She has a mission in life and that gives her the strength to take risks and live with death threats at a very young age and become an inspiration to many thousands of young girl students all over the world.
Young people like Malala give us hope and encouragement so that we too want to help to make this a better, happier, and more just world, but just don’t know how. Around the world, there are millions of people working for justice, peace, human rights, the dignity of women and children, and work to end drug proliferation, human trafficking, and sex slavery. We can help them by supporting their work and be part of their mission. They are serving humanity. Never think there is only misery and evil. There is abundant good everywhere, we just have to look and see and join in.
These agents of change look upon the world and see human suffering and misery, oppression and exploitation, apathy, indifference, greed, corruption and injustice and with deep compassion and care for others they say, “I will try and change it, if I could save even one child, one person, I have done great good. My life will be worth a human life. Thousands of people have become missionaries and volunteers to be an agent of change for others.
Some want to change the people doing evil or doing nothing at all. They promote spiritual transformation. Others attempt to change the political systems that in some nations condone, allow and actually do evil, violate human rights, as in cruel oppressive dictatorships or corrupt political systems devoid of morality and compassion and that harm the common good.
Others strive to change one aspect or another of society like Malala believing that if you bring change in one vital sector of society, it will impact on all others and that will make a better world. Many see the suffering in the world and hurry to be the good Samaritan to heal, help and protect the victims, the orphans, and the abused.
Others become partners in a mission and do good providing the resources, support, and logistics to make these missions possible; each work according to their abilities and at the level of their enlightenment and inner goodness.
Those with a mission have convictions in the value and dignity of the human person. For many, they are inspired and motivated by that “man with a mission” who wanted to turn the world upside down and change it forever – the man from Nazareth. Jesus is the unschooled son of a carpenter turned prophet, teacher, healer, reformer, spiritual prodigy and leader, a washer of feet, a social revolutionary, a man of peace and a friend to all.
His mission was to save the world and everyone from the effects of evil, sin, poverty, oppression, exclusion of all kinds, and much more. He challenged the world of his day with great social life changing truths and values and teachings that are still relevant today.
They were unthinkable and unacceptable to the rulers, authorities, the theocracy and the landowning elders of society in his time. They are universal values of unselfish concern and love of others. To serve others without reward is unacceptable for most people and it never really caught on. The great values and the Man, a true son of God, and his mission was turned into an ideal to be worshiped in religious rites and rituals. Not a way of life for all to be imitated and widely practiced. Most people want to pursue comfort, prosperity and find happiness that way but seldom do.
He taught that all human beings are equal in dignity, rights and status in the world and before God, his spiritual father. He offended the religious elite by calling God Abba, meaning Papa.
He put the most impoverished and unrecognized of all as the model for all – a child. A child or a woman had practically no status, rights, position or value in society at that time but he gave them status and position.
Yet when asked who is the greatest in society and religion, he called out for a child, unless we become as morally clean and as innocent as a child we can’t be intimate with the man from Nazareth, Jesus and his heavenly Father. The status and rights of the child was elevated that day but never recognized until recent times.
The innocent children are representatives of Jesus of Nazareth himself. “Whoever welcome one such as this child, welcomes me,” he told them. That’s a profound teaching. Its implications were and are far reaching. It directly challenged the ruling class and the authorities. His spiritual mission was to change everything and that eventually led to his execution. But his mission never ends, we are challenged to carry it on just as he lives on us and children like Malala.