Now that I am considered by some to be getting old, and the scarcity of my hair and the color of my beard seem to confirm that fact, I am beginning to realize that no matter what i say or write, at least half of my audience will disagree with me.
But, it’s not just the disagreement. We have always had disagreements.
It is the “That offends me!” response that makes this world so difficult.
I guess that is the nature of this “new normal” we are living in.
But it started way before the pandemic.
At some point, having a difference of opinion has become a reason for friendships to end, families to break apart, and discussion to turn into venomous attacks against one’s character.
You know that what I am saying is true.
I am living in a world where I am forced to take a side.
The other side becomes my enemy.
Or, I can just keep my mouth shut and try to stay out of the conflict.
I JUST CAN’T!
Now, a rope hanging in a garage or a park becomes a hate crime, a statue of an historic man or woman becomes a reminder of some horrible offense, a person’s skin tone is again becoming a reason to divide, law enforcement has suddenly become something the world is questioning, a protest that turns violent is considered a form of free speech, and hatred is applauded.
I remember when my mom used to teach me not to say I hate anyone.
There is a scripture in Matthew where Jesus is warning his disciples of the world that is to come where things are gonna get pretty bad.
He says, “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:12
So, since I can’t keep my mouth shut, here is my take on this world in which I find myself.
We can’t fix it.
There is no government, no movement, no radical protest, no violent protest, no well phrased speech, no chanted mantra, no charismatic leader that can change the course of “the love of many growing cold.”
The heart has to be changed.
And, that can happen!
Trouble is, I have to give up my efforts to fix myself, or fix you, and give myself back to the one who made me.
You have to do the same.
I know what you are thinking, “Here we go, the religious thing.” And you close me off.
I become the enemy.
That’s the natural thing to do.
This heart change, though, is not “natural”.
It actually is in direct opposition to everything you have ever done before.
Something happens to your thought processes and you begin to sense a love for others begin to grow inside. An affection, a sense of wanting to help others, a sense of peaceful rest, a sense of patience with the faults of others, a sense of kindness toward those that yell at you, a new found love and trust for your God, a sense of being gentle toward those around you, a sense of having control over your old way of reacting, a sense of joy that you just can’t quite explain.
That’s it. You just can’t explain it.
He calls you, “Come to me and I will give you rest,” and you come.
The eyes of your heart are opened for the first time.
You become a completely new person.
A little bit at a time.
And, you begin to perceive the “image of God” in those you meet, even if they haven’t had their hearts changed, yet.
You hear a voice inside saying, “This is the way! Walk in it!”
And that is when the change in the world comes.