Evil wears many faces. Some obvious, others insidious. There are different types and calibers. Evil is layered, like the varying veins of sediment in a cliff face.
Cries of “this must be stopped” and “be the change you wish to see in the world” abound. But the evil that happened in Charlottesville, and millions of other places every day, will not be stopped by change alone.
It’s not about politics, it’s about people. It’s not about legislation or not allowing people to behave in certain ways.
It’s not about behavior at all, but the reasons behind it.
There will not be change until we stop defining Who and What and deal with Why.
A Myriad of beliefs make up Why. Whatever we tell ourselves, in our hearts, day in and day out, becomes what we believe to be true. Evil in equals Evil out.
We cannot change the beliefs or replace the evil in anyone else’s heart. We can only change our own, replacing Evil with Love, and take that Love to the world.
God’s people must lead the way. Who should understand Love better and deeper than followers of Jesus? We acknowledge the depth of our hypocrisy and seek continual transformation from the One who died of Love for us.
If the church is not God’s Love to the world, if we don’t call out “send me,” if we don’t advance in Love from home to neighborhood to nation, then Evil wins. The cliffs stand, bold and strong, and Evil remains entrenched.
It will require water, and lots of it, to break them down.
It’s time for the church to rise. It’s time to move. It’s time to be the Water.
Make Charlottesville the turning point.
God’s people must be His Love in waves of good actions to crumble the cliffs of Evil.
What Can We Do?
Be the Waves
When waves crash into cliffs time and time again, the cliffs start to get cracks and crevices. The cliffs lose sediment, bit by bit, slowly weakening and eventually crumbling.
Jesus didn’t die so we would believe or behave “correctly.” He died so we would share His Life and Love with others. Without Love we have nothing, can do nothing, are nothing. Love is broader, more varied, and far more powerful than warm fuzzies or romance. We must love deeply, unconditionally, with purpose. We must do everything in love -- every single thing.
God’s people must band together to be Love Waves, crashing into the cliffs of Evil again, again, again.
Work With the Wind
Waves are formed when wind blows. The wind transfers its energy to the water, and the water carries it. The greater the speed, duration, and distance, the larger and more powerful the waves. Waves of Love must be energized with the Wind of the Holy Spirit.
Get in God’s Word every day – deeply and open-mindedly. Ponder it when you lie down and get up, in the shower and the car, dinner table and conference table, chapters, songs, and prayers. Drink it down, memorize it, and let it flow from your mind, heart, and tongue.
Let the Holy Spirit teach you. Let that Still, Small Voice that says, “This is the way. Walk in it,” transform you. Let the Holy Spirit Wind move you where, when, and how He needs you to go.
Focus Forward Toward the Cliffs
When the currents flow in one direction and the waves follow, they circulate through the ocean. But when differing currents collide they form whirlpools and waves move in circles rather than forward.
The Church has lost its direction, its current. We have become whirlpools, churning against ourselves rather than storming the cliffs. We must focus forward with Love instead of around in jealousy and judgment.
How to Be Waves
It’s much easier to keep the sediment in the cliff than it is to force it out. But each time the waves hit the cliffs they shake and loosen tiny fragments of sediment and wash them away. While daily change appears imperceptible, over time the effects become clear.
It’s much easier to keep a negative mindset in place than to force it out. But each time Love hits, it shakes and loosens tiny fragments of evil and washes them away. We may not perceive daily progress, but over time it will be revealed.
For every negative comment you hear, it takes six positive ones to cancel it out. Based on this principle, for every negative, evil action we must give back six positive, loving ones, just to cancel it out its effects.
That’s why we must aim higher, choosing a larger ratio to make the change.
God’s people as Love Waves must give and do according to a 7:1 ratio, seven acts of love for every one act of evil. To be even more effective we need 8:1, 10:1, 100:1.
What does this look like? Find the need. Discover the pain. Notice the evil. Then mow its lawn. Take a meal. Pay the bill.
This will not be easy. Your loving actions will be misunderstood, rejected, thwarted. You will make sacrifices. Pain and blood are certainties. But nothing else will bring the change we seek.
Love on people. Serve them. Be creative about it.
Tell them your Why.
And do it seven more times.
Better yet, do it with seven or more of your friends.
Only then will we turn the tide.
#lovewaves #bethelove #loveinaction #turnthetide #dontbethechangebethelove
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If I had to use only one word to describe the prevailing attitude in America today, it would be grouchy.
When I’m in pain, or frustrated, or worried, I tend to be grouchy. I’m thinking a lot of our communal grouchiness is the result of those same feelings, though on a much larger scale.
It’s okay to be grouchy sometimes, but it’s looking like an epidemic.
We can’t take away the pain, frustration, or worry, but restoring a little bit of faith in humanity will go a long way toward curing the Grouchies.
How can we turn those frowns upside down?
We can love our neighbors as ourselves (AKA Leviticus 19:18 and Mark 12:31), or as it’s better known, The Golden Rule.
You may have heard The Golden Rule to be He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules, or even Do to Others Before They Do to You.
To refresh our collective memories, the Golden Rule is Do to Others as You Would Have Others Do to You. The reverse applies as well--Do Not Do to Others as You Would Have Others Not Do to You.
What does that look like?
If you want someone to smile at you, smile at them. If you don’t want the door slammed in your face, don’t slam it in theirs. If you want someone to respect your person, property, and point of view, then respect theirs. If you don’t want someone stealing your stuff, don’t steal theirs. Embracing and living this one rule alone could solve a world of problems.
I think you get the picture, but if that doesn’t work for you, we’ll up the ante.
What’s the quickest and surest way to make Mama Bear grouchy? Mess with her cubs. I mean, hurt me all you want, but don’t you dare lay a finger on my kids. In Golden Rule speak, that would be do to others as you would have others do to YOUR CHILD, and don’t do to others as you would not have others do to YOUR CHILD.
In other words, don’t do anything you wouldn’t want someone to do to your child, but by all means, feel free to do all of the things you would. Be kind. Be patient. Encourage. Support. Teach. Let love be your guide.
Then there’s this angle: If people loved their neighbors there would be a distinct decline in theft, assault and battery, even murder and human trafficking (both with sellers and buyers). The news media, one major source of our collective grouchiness, would be out of fear-mongering stories. That alone is worth it to me.
Hmmmm. I take back what I said earlier about not being able to take away the pain, frustration, or worry. If we lived The Golden Rule, it would be entirely possible for the prevailing attitude in America to become love.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Do you hear that phrase as often as I do?
We all believe change is needed but no one agrees on which things, much less how best to do it.
Demands for change inhabit every area of life, from macro issues like business, education, and politics (oy vey the politics) to micro issues like snowflake children, helicopter parents, even which way toilet paper should roll.
Hatred, fear, and arrogance blanket the majority of interactions in social and other media. Exchange of ideas becomes exchange of insults. It’s open season on anyone with a differing opinion.
Be the Change You Wish to See has become Make Them Be the Change I Wish to See.
Being the Change is simply not working.
Change involves modifying behavior, performing a different action to obtain a different result. We define Who or What is the problem, and How, When, and Where to change.
But unless we go deeper--to the Why--then the Who, What, Where, When, and How are pointless. When change gets messy and complicated and you become tired and discouraged, the Why will keep you going.
Not all Whys can create positive change. Negative Whys include Fear, Envy, Hatred, Arrogance, Greed. Adding negatives cannot equal a positive (thank you, sixth grade math class). Negative Whys cannot create positive change.
Compassion is a positive Why. So are Peace, Trust, Kindness, Loyalty. If you want positive change, start with those.
Better yet, there is one Why that is even deeper and more powerful than any other, positive or negative.
Love is patient, kind, content, humble, respectful, generous, gentle, forgiving. (Paul the Apostle, para.)
Love is the greatest thing. (also Paul, para.)
Think about what kinds of change Love will produce.
That is change I wish to see.
If we move in Love, Change will follow. There is no other possibility.
Don’t Be the Change. Be the Love.
(In my next posts I’ll begin to share How, and Who)