I have to be honest, I’m kind of “thinking out loud” as I type. I work through things better that way. So, maybe you can help . . .
I was in the car on my way back from lunch today and John Mayer started singing to me through my radio. “We keep waiting, waiting, waiting on the world to change.” One line in particular stood out to me. “It’s hard to beat the system when we’re standing at a distance.” And I started thinking . . .
I think Jesus would probably agree with that statement. It’s hard to invoke change when you aren’t involved. It’s pretty near impossible to make a difference in the world when, well, you’re indifferent to it. If I was completely honest with myself, I would have to admit that I’ve been waiting – a little too long. Jesus was all about bucking the system – but what’s amazing to me is that he bucked the system by being the epitomy of 1 Corinthians 13.
I think it’s easy for us as Christians to search for knowledge, philanthropic endeavors, even great faith. But, we fail miserably at loving God and our neighbors (sorry for the generalization, but you know what I mean). Honestly, I’d much rather read a book on compassion and service – and agree with every word written, but when it comes down to it I don’t make it a practice in my life to truly live a life of love.
How can I make a difference when I’m indifferent to the people/circumstances/situations in the world? How can I invoke change in the world if I’m not involved in it? How can I truly love others if I’m more interested in whether or not my interests will be met? Am I patient with others? Kind to them? Am I jealous, prideful, arrogant? Do I somehow think I am entitled to certain things – or think I am better than someone else? I think if I’m truly honest, I’ve been standing at a distance from myself as well. And, it’s hard to see the areas where you need to change when you’re happier at arms length from the reality of who you are. Ouch! Looks like I’ve got some soul searching to do.
I think we are called to so much more as Christians than I think we’ve pursued. Waiting on the world to change isn’t really an option for us – because if we are to live as Christ lived, we are called to buck the system and invoke some change. Perhaps this prayer by St. Francis is a good starting point:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.
Let’s let God change our lives and in turn help us change the world.