The ALS ice bucket challenge is throwing cold water on more than just people—it has caused quite a bit of tension across the internet this week. Amid the opinions and perspectives posted, there’s always someone bound to get offended.
We all have different passions and favorite causes. Some are favorites because we are living them or know someone who is. And unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ve probably seen people drenching themselves with buckets of ice water to raise awareness and money for ALS.
I searched to find the original challenge, and in addition to the ALS ice bucket challenge, I found a challenge on behalf of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation posted in May (see instructions below). This makes sense—firemen use water to put out or overcome their “enemy” of fire. As of May 29, the NFFF had received nearly 250 donations from $10-$100.
-You are nominated to complete the challenge by someone who has done just that.
-You have 24 hours to do the challenge AND donate $10 or $20 to the charity of the challenger.
-If you don’t complete the challenge, you donate $50 or $100 to the charity they defined. The amount of the donations varies. The most common is $10 if you complete it, $100 if you do not.
-If you complete the challenge, upload the video of you completing it to Facebook or YouTube and nominate 5 more individuals.
Another website gives credit to motocross racing pro, Jeremy McGrath for doing the challenge and calling out pro golfer, Rickie Fowler to do the challenge or give to the charity of his choice.
According to the ALS website , the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge really took off when Pete Frates, along with his family, posted a video on Facebook and Twitter, and it went viral. Frates is 29 years old and has lived with ALS since 2012. He has worked with the ALS Association’s Massachusetts Chapter. The ALS Association has reported that between July 29 and August 12, over $4 million have been raised due to the challenge.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Some are saying this challenge is offensive and have posted reasons to NOT do the challenge, like:
-It is a waste of water and insults the parts of the world that have little to no drinking water.
-It’s in poor taste due to extreme drought situations in western and southwestern US areas.
-It feeds the need for attention fostered by social media, bringing more attention to the participants rather than awareness to the charity.
So there has been some ice water thrown on the ice water challenge. It seems that people can’t do ANYTHING for the good of someone else without someone on the sidelines complaining. I’ve received some pushback when I have occasionally participated in a cause-driven activity.
-Drive-thru difference at Starbucks: chastised for supporting a company that doesn’t support traditional marriage
-Post a non-makeup selfie for cancer awareness: chastised for doing something trivial for a huge cause
-Wear red to bring awareness to heart disease: chastised for eating fried foods on the days I didn’t wear red
Can we not just BE NICE? Wear your makeup or don’t, shave your head or don’t, pour cold water on yourself or don’t. Whatever you do, above all else, LOVE. Just simply LOVE.
If you’re passionate about something, it’s easy to get upset at those who don’t share that passion. But we’re all different. We all have passions, and we all have flaws. Nobody understands ALL things and circumstances. Nobody has a compassionate heart toward everything or everyone. And that’s okay.
It’s All About Love
How I respond to a person’s lack of reception says more about ME than it does about them. If I truly wish for everyone to be encouraged, to feel loved, and believe they are designed for God’s purpose (that’s my passion, in case you were wondering), I must live out His purpose in my own life. I must be slow to anger, speaking only in love, not out of judgment. That doesn’t mean I condone what every person does in his life. It simply means that I know MY place in His kingdom and His purpose for my life. I identify with Christ; He is my defender, my portion, my shield. Just as He revealed my flaws, shortcomings and weaknesses to me, He can do the same for others.
Often, God uses us to encourage others, sometimes because we have experienced similar things. We can walk through hard times with them, we can hurt with them, we can have compassion. We all have gone through tough things in this life…we represent several walks, paths, circumstances, some chosen and some thrown upon us. We’re all different and see things through different glasses.
So to be dogmatic and stand against something or someone with disregard for anyone else’s walk, path or circumstance can come across as judgmental.
Jesus said the greatest commandment was, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it. ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hang from them” (Matthew 22:37-40, MSG).
Above all else, love without fail. Leave the judgment up to God. We do not and cannot know the hearts of others. But we can BE LOVE. The Bible says to love as you are loved. You are loved greatly by our God, and through His great love you are able to show love to others, ice water or no ice water.