How do you change the world? By being different. By having a different reaction than the one that’s expected. By being what the world needs.
Do these things and you will change the world because these things are in short supply in the world. They are: Love, empathize, build bridges, lift up (not tear down), create respect for all, resist the temptation to find fault even when you’re among people who all agree, choose not to take part in criminalizing anyone, speak well of people who are not in your presence, give everyone a second chance — then a third, and a fourth — up to 7 X 70 (Matthew 18:22) in fact, be a catalyst, a peacemaker, a healer. Stand in the gap; resist taking sides. Live like this, and you will make a difference — better yet, you will be the difference.
Of course it goes without saying that at least some of this will be hard to do, but you have to remember, it’s not us doing it, it’s the Lord in us, through us, working in spite of our weakness and our fear.
I just read an article about how therapists around the country are faced with a huge dilemma right now. The last election and its results have so affected the mental health of their patients that they have to talk about it, which forces the therapists to stay neutral, something that is becoming harder and harder for them to do. Well … that would be true for us too.
Our hope and security does not rest in anything that can be won or lost at the polls. If it does, we have placed our hope in the wrong thing.
You are strategically placed right where you are for one reason: to bring the kingdom of God to your corner of the world. It matters not where that is; it matters that you are there and you are intentional about being a carrier of Christ and a spreader of the gospel of welcome — grace turned outward. And if you’re not sure what that is, you need to read the Catch — every Catch.
Reading one or two Catches a week isn’t enough. This is not my opinion to be weighed equally with all the other opinions out there on the vast Internet of personal expression. This is prophetic truth, and I am a pastor. I am speaking from 40 years of training, of studying scripture, and seeking God’s kingdom in the world. Most of what I present here is countercultural. It’s going to go against most of what you hear or read today, even from Christian sources. You need to refresh this thinking every day or you will not be able to counteract everything coming at you from all sides.
Do you go to church once every five weeks? Then you need to read the Catch every day and send it out to everyone you know. If you miss one or two — go back and catch up. Every Catch I’ve ever created is right here in reverse chronological order. This is necessary. This is not a nice-to-do.
We are touching people; we are putting our arms around the hopeless; we are praying for people where prayer is called for; we are creating something positive we can share with others. We are making a difference.
The current climate is so volatile that our faith has to make a difference in our behavior or one could rightfully question it. Divisiveness, polarization, demonization of the other side is the norm. This is such a mean-spirited age that simple kindnesses and courtesy are more than what they would be any other time. Any other time they would be what’s expected. Today a simple kindness is a candle in the darkness; it’s a reminder of some long distant memory — something good and hopeful — a reminder to everyone we meet of what is right about being human and of the value and reality that God’s grace brings to earth through us. That is grace turned outward — something that will change the world.