When the world's population was sitting at home during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns, some of them forgot how to treat their neighbor, actress and author Roma Downey says.
Some of them, she says, forgot how to follow the example of Jesus.
"We were in our houses more and on our phones more," Downey told Christian Headlines. "... I was really noticing on the Twitter app how much people were being unkind to each other. It was just out of control."
Too many people, she says, forgot how to "agree to disagree."
"It got me thinking just about the landscape of the world that we're living in," she said, "and the sort of divisions in our country, in our world."
Downey began meditating on the themes of kindness and tenderness. Eventually, she wrote a 52-week devotional – titled Be an Angel – that she hopes will inspire readers and spark them to embark on acts of kindness. Each chapter ends with a "Be an Angel" challenge, encouraging the reader to put the words of Scripture into action. The devotional releases on Feb. 21.
The word "angel," she said, is mentioned nearly 300 times in Scripture.
"They were the messengers," Downey told Christian Headlines. "What they brought was usually a loving, extraordinary message from the Almighty. … And I thought, what if we, in our lives and our exchanges with each other could be more like the angels?"
Downey is known for her on-screen role in the popular series Touched by an Angel as well as her behind-the-scenes production role in such projects as The Bible, A.D.: The Bible Continues and Resurrection.
"On my social media platform, I've committed to every day trying to add something uplifting or positive, whether it's a Scripture or an inspirational quote. We need to ... make more noise for the good guys. And there's plenty of good guys out there doing good things. But it's the bad news and the mean-spirited things that seem to make the headlines."
The Christian life should be one of action, not simply words, she added. She hopes her devotional helps the reader practice the fruit of the Spirit.
"I want to be better. I want to be more Christ-like," Downey said. "... We've got to walk the walk, too. It's not just saying it. Love is a verb. And faith is a verb. Anybody can say, 'I love you,' or anybody can say, 'I believe.' But how do we put these things into action?"
Photo courtesy: ©Roma Downey courtesy photo
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.