Getting in the game

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“All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This famous quote by Edmund Burke is probably one the most important quotes I know of that is not in the Bible. Actually, biblically, it’s not quite right because evil triumphs when God allows it to, but that’s God’s business, not ours. From our perspective, this statement is dead on. Do nothing and you are making sure that God can’t do anything through you.

A good friend of mine who has written a lot lately about the current political and social malaise we find ourselves in in this country concluded in his last piece: “Don’t make it worse, and don’t sit this one out.” That caught my attention because I think that is exactly what many of us are doing, or at least I can speak for myself.

One way of making it worse would be to be critical and sarcastic about the way things are. I am guilty of this. It’s just so easy because there is so much to knock down. Lately I’ve been looking at the newspaper with a friend and I often hear him laughing over what he’s reading. Thinking he’s looking at the comics, I ask him what’s so funny and I’m beginning to expect now that he will tell me it’s something from the front page that is making him laugh. It does seem these days that if you are not crying over the news, you are laughing over it. Mostly, its a sarcastic laughter because much of what is going on is so hard to believe. You have to do something. But tearing down is the easy way. Any fool can tear down, but it takes a man or woman of God to build up. We need to guard against making things worse by focusing on what is wrong and declaring ourselves helpless to change it.

One of our millennial friends surprises me often by being optimistic about the world when I have a tendency to be pessimistic. It catches me off guard, and makes me think. I’ll make a derogatory statement about something in the news and he will counter me with something hopeful. We need to all think about how we can do this. I’m speaking of our good friend Alexander Klein who will be joining me next month for some thought-provoking videos. I’m looking forward to him teaching us where his optimism comes from.

The second part of that statement is: “Don’t sit this one out.” That would be the part about good men and women doing nothing. Don’t sit this one out. Get in there and do something that, even if in the smallest way, will make the world a better place. This actually goes hand-in-hand with not making it worse, because you won’t be sarcastic about something you are improving. It’s a cure for pessimism. Sarcasm comes from sitting it out. We’re all Monday morning quarterbacks because everyone’s got something to say about the game… but no one played in it. Get in the game, and make a difference, no matter how small.

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4 Responses to Getting in the game

  1. drewdsnider says:

    A few years ago, a friend of mine used a word — I don’t know if she coined it herself, but she may have — that’s stuck with me: “actionism” (and its derivative, “actionist”). You hear about “activists”, who march in rallies, wear funny hats, wave placards and demand that someone else do something to fix a situation. Actionists are those “someone else”s. As Christians, it’s important that the actions we take are considered through prayer — both praying for God to have His will done on earth (which is NOT a “do-nothing” stance), but also for His guidance in what action we should take. Remember that, when Peter grabbed a sword “in Jesus’ Name” and did what he thought he should do, he missed his target and only got the ear (which Jesus then healed).

  2. Peter Leenheer says:

    Exodus 22:28 You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people. In order to avoid cursing the rulers of this world I find something positive. It is also my goal to find out both sides of the story. No matter what the report, if you don’t like the person you are reporting about you will see everything from a dislike perspective. I may not agree with the other side but it helps me understand it.
    We have all played the game where someone makes a statement, that is then passed around a circle of people by whispering it in their ear. The distortion that arrives when it comes full circle is often astounding. In the game that is funny. In real life it often makes us furious….so find out what was meant.
    As the above comment states, pray, pray, pray, for clear thinking. Get in there and find out what is really going on!!!! and then do something about it.

  3. Sandie says:

    I remember this from somewhere in my past…”If you are not part of the solution – you are part of the problem.”

  4. Markus says:

    Many people are under a lot of work related stress and maybe that is the problem? Stress leads to a short fuse which can then easily lead to frustration and anger when you think that somebody else is not doing his job. If you can work hard then so can this other person, be it a politician, or somebody from ‘the system’, right? This kind of thinking makes worldly sense and I am prone to it myself, but it is also dangerous and decidedly not Christian.

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