Change (How Do We Get It?)
There are a lot of opinions floating around these days. Right/left/center…you may have even noticed some off center opinions out and about. (Believe it or not, I’ve heard that off center opinions exist. Some have even said that my opinions are off center. Hard to believe I know!)
Everyone is firmly convinced that they are right and the problem is that everyone else is wrong. So, really everyone has the same problem…everyone else. (Everyone’s Problem = Everyone Else.)
Now that we understand our common problem, we need a solution. How can we fix our problem? Here we can see another area of common ground. Everyone is waiting for somebody else to solve the problem. (Everyone’s Problem = Everyone Else. Everybody’s Solution = Somebody Else.)
However, this is where we hit a snag. Somebody Else turns out to be just like Everybody Else. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Everybody Else is Somebody Else, but many people find this to be quite a shock. When everyone (right/left/center) discovers this, they all want the same thing…change.
This is where we find ourselves today.
One side is afraid of this…the other side is afraid of that. The only thing they all seem to have in common is that they are afraid.
When we are afraid it provides a certain comfort to have an enemy to focus on. If we can only defeat the enemy our problems will be gone! Politicians and media of all stripes like to chant this mantra….the punch line usually is, we need your support for the fight, so send money now!
But has this actually created positive change for anyone?
Does anyone actually want to live a life of constant fear and conflict? If you do…feel free to skip the rest of this blog. If you don’t, than we need to start thinking of how to create real change. (Having everyone blame everyone else for our problems hasn’t eliminated any problems yet. If it has, feel free to leave examples in the space below.)
Some people say we need a different political party…others say the answer is simply to party. Some say we need a different system or another meeting. Yet, there is a reason that Marvel has not yet released a superhero movie about…ahem…The Wonderful Committee Meeting That Saved the World!
All these systems and meetings are only as good as the people who are part of them. I have attended many meetings and seen many great ideas being proposed. The reason that many of these great ideas fail is due to personal issues…feuds…jealousy…pride…laziness…dishonesty…greed….and so on. The idea may be good…the system may be able to accomplish it…but the idea dies because someone isn’t willing to sacrifice their feud…their greed…their weekend to bring the idea to life.
Therefore, I would suggest that if we really want to see positive change in our community and society, we first need to lay the foundation for that to happen.
Here are some values that I believe would help create the conditions for positive change.
Humility. The realization that the world is not all about me and my opinion. I may be wrong…I have been before. Calling everyone who disagrees with me stupid doesn’t make me any smarter. Everyone I know has failed at some point and so have I…None of us is better than the other. We’re all in a mess of sin and we all need salvation. (No? What would your spouse or partner say if we asked them about you?) We need to look beyond ourselves. Once we realize that we don’t know everything we are ready to learn something. Once we face up to our own failures…we can forsake them and move on.
Truth. What is truth? Isn’t truth simply reality? If we wish to change reality, we need to deal with reality as it is…not as we wish it would be. We have many people giving conflicting opinions on reality (ironically, so am I) but what we need to discover is more than another opinion about reality. What we need to discover is reality itself…and let that change our opinions, no matter how humbling that may be.
What is important isn’t whether we are to the left or the right side of the truth…what is important is the truth. If we refuse to deal with reality…reality will deal with us.
I may wish to believe that sitting on the couch and feasting on junk food will make me slim and healthy. However, if I pursue that belief, the reality of the consequences of eating junk food will soon become obvious.
Wouldn’t we be better off if we turned off all the noisy opinions…and instead become people who pursue truth….reality?
Faith. We all believe in something. What makes the difference is what we believe in. Is our faith in the government, ourselves, Corporations, power, money, traditions passed down for generations…is it in the church…is it in God….is it in Jesus? When hard times come, when we are weak and broken…and given enough time, we all will be…we discover how solid our crutch is. Does our faith hold us up or let us down? Has our faith been placed in the right place?
The evidence will be seen in how we live.
If I believe I can fix it myself, why don’t I?
If we really have faith in the bridge we will cross it, won’t we?
If we are really connected to the power that created the universe than why do we live in fear?
Faith is more than words. As a wise man once said…by their fruits (deeds) you will know them. Is my faith leading me to do good for others…or is it leading me to use others for my own good?
A healthy faith will be reflected in a healthy life.
Grace. Once we have understood just how much we need grace to cover our own flaws…it is easier to extend the same grace to others for theirs. Which sounds more appealing? A community of grace, where past failures are acknowledged, but the hand of fellowship is extended regardless of them? Or a community of judgement and condemnation? A place where past failures are never forgiven or forgotten and everyone is always a moment away from rejection?
We are building a community now, all around us, through our words and deeds. Is it a place where we want to live?
Forgiveness. This isn’t an endorsement of what was done. This is given despite of what they did. This is a releasing of the burdens of bitterness and resentment. When we are free from the weight of the past, we can move forward…away from the feud.
Love. We can practice all these things…but if we do them without love, does it really have any meaning? People can sense when someone isn’t being sincere. Love is the key ingredient in a good foundation. The realization that everyone has value in the sight of God should change our perspective. If everyone has value in the sight of God, why am I abusing them…lying to them…belittling them? If we truly love God, why do we hate what God loves…namely humans? Yes, love is hard…especially when they behave like we do…but love makes all the difference. We need to pray for it.
Love is patient…love is kind…keeps no record of wrongs…is not easily angered. Wouldn’t society be better off with more of this?
After all the other things have been put into practice…we are ready for honest communication. Through honest communication, we can face the reality of the problems we face…we tear down the walls of segregation and build a community where positive change is created.
When we have a firm foundation…we can build systems that work and have meetings that are productive. However, without a firm foundation, can we build anything at all?
The new political system may be good. The new organizational structure may be sound…but if the people within the new system stay the same, will anything really change?
Wouldn’t we just have a new way to accomplish the same old thing?
Wouldn’t society just carry on with all the petty feuds and squabbles like it has been?
I’d like to hear from you…what do you think?