Crescent Lake, China Photographer: Alex Kwok
Christians are called to be people of hope, because we have hope in God. Hope is mentioned at least 164 times in the Bible. The Apostle Paul ends his well-known passage on love to the Corinthian church by emphasizing that faith, hope, and love are three things that are endure. Our greatest hope as Christians is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Christ not only gives us hope for the future, but it also changes us from the inside out now and makes us
ambassadors of hope for today.
One such ambassador of hope was an Australian man named Don Ritchie. Don passed away a few years ago, but his memory lives on as being “Angel of the Gap.” Mr. Ritchie earned this nick name for being credited with talking over 160 people out of suicide over a span of 50 years. The late Australian moved 50 years ago to Watson’s bay, known as one of the most picturesque places in Sydney harbor not knowing that it was also one of the most prolific places in Sydney for suicides.
Once Don realized this anytime he would see someone near the Bridge from his house acting suspicious he would walk over to them with a kind and sympathetic voice and invite them over for tea with him and his wife. He once said an offer of help “was often all that was needed to turn people around and he would say not to underestimate the power of a kind word and a smile”, his wife said to Sydney Morning Herald after his passing.* The Jewish Psychologist Victor Frankl did a similar thing in the concentration camps during World War Two. In the camps it was illegal to stop a prisoner from committing suicide. Dr. Frankl noticed when a fellow prisoner had lost all hope and was now going give up on life, he would go over to them and whisper into their ears words of hope telling them to not give up on life.
As Christians we should always take note on the possible influence we can make on others with our words. Love the unlovely, encourage the discouraged, bring fellowship to the lonely, preach the gospel, and live by the spirit. The beautiful thing about bringing hope to others is that we don’t have to be whole or have it all together to encourage others, and in the process we find our act of faith will actually result in deep satisfying joy for ourselves. Proverbs 11:25 (ESV) states that “whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” and Proverbs 10:21 (NLT) says “the words of the godly encourages many.”