What Can WE Do?…
This is a question that has been asked throughout time to varying degrees, by individuals, people groups and nations. It’s a question that both exposes our inadequacy and the greater desire to change that which we feel passionately about. It’s a question that has promoted and driven some of the greatest and worst movements in recent history. From the Nazi party to the African American civil rights movement, from the reformation of Christ’s church to the hip-hop community. It’s a question that resonates to the core of our being, because (although at times undercover) it is a question that asks a monumental yet very base issue. What is wrong with the world (or Why are people evil)?
By asking how we can change or “What can WE do?”, we are making an evaluation on our circumstances. We are effectively asking, why are things this way and how do I go about changing them in order to lessen my/our suffering and/or promote a better life/situation for myself and others? All people regardless of their socio-political/religious worldviews or lack thereof desire to make this world a better place based on their definition of “better”.
Throughout my life, but especially in my teen years I began to ask this question. Circumstances would change and the question applied to numerous ideas, subjects or topics, but the question remained. In middle school I experienced for my first time pure unyielding racism under the guise of white power. This concept and underlying culture was so foreign to me, it initially drew my interest and shamefully my desire to become more like the person who introduced me to the concept. Within the week, I felt a heavy burden (now what I understand to be the conviction of sin) about this desire to foolishly seek after that idea. Shortly after that paradigm shift, I began to ask another question “What is right?” Now, I didn’t literally sit down one day and ask myself this, but I began to look for answers and to find where I fit. I don’t think this is much different (though the details may vary) than any other child my age would/does do.
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
- Jesus the Christ
As I have grown and matured, but more importantly placed my faith in Christ and began to seek to walk accordingly, I began to ask the same questions all over again, but this time from an obviously different perspective. I began to ask “What is the responsibility of the church?”, “What can WE do to spread the gospel?”, “What is our responsibility to culture and society?” or more generally “What can WE do?” I’ve struggled with this for years, from trying to understand and organize evangelism, to trying to convince the church of our need to live holy, to trying to adjust our behavior (and I believe rightly so) in order to represent the attitude and heart of God (e.g. judgemental behavior, unecessary/unbiblical tradition, accepting new or different methods of ministry).
In the last year however, God has done a major work on my heart and mind and been teaching me something I had completely overlooked before. I was asking the wrong question. Though these questions are necessary, important and valid, I had overlooked the most important question of all. I had to a degree “strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel.” My whole life I had been asking “What can WE do?”, when all along I should have been asking “What can/should/must I do?” It’s true that WE need to do things, say things, and change things. The problem comes into play when I (or WE) only look that far. We have been (in general) raised to be culturally and spiritually farsighted. We easily look into the group of WE, but rarely (if at all) look into ourselves.
The work the Lord has been doing in my heart over the last year has been that of adjusting my sight spiritually to look at my own heart and see where those most hated things actually reside. Jesus taught “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” The whole lesson is that of non-hypocritical judgement. If I want/need others to change, I have to change first.
Men like MLK, Paul the apostle and Martin Luther did not simply stand by and ask questions, they examined what was wrong and then did everything in their power to lead as an example…
In every idealistic, spiritual or political movement of people. There has always been the group or the “WE”, but that group is only made up of individuals. Individuals that each examined what they believed to be correct or needed to be changed and decided to be part of the change. More importantly though, these groups had a leader (or leaders) that when beyond that. They didn’t simply say “What can WE do?”, but rather, “What MUST I do?” It wasn’t seen as optional, it wasn’t seen as something someone else could do, but rather something that required their very own action.
These have been the men and women who have made the greatest impact in history. These are the people that you and I NEED to be. If we always seek to just be part of something or to follow where others have gone, how are we any different than those who we have issue with. Those people are simply following a model that came before them as well. If that is how we behave we have done nothing more than pulled a splinter out of a brothers eye while allowing a plank in our own.
Men like MLK, Paul the apostle and Martin Luther did not simply stand by and ask questions, they examined what was wrong and then did everything in their power to lead as an example in their own life. They both thought and acted, talked and walked. If you want your world to change, YOU have to change or more accurately, I have to change.
Instead of continuing to ask, “what can WE do?” We HAVE to start seeking God and asking, “What can/must I do?”, “Where have I failed?”, “What needs to change in MY heart?” and “How can I lead as an example?” If we fight with all we have to lead by example according to what He has told us in his word, He may use us mightily. After all, the word says “GOD so loved the world, that HE gave HIS only begotten Son.” Jesus came into this world and always lead by example. If we are truly following Him, than how can we live any differently?
With all that being said; what do YOU do? Where is God leading you to change? Will you take this post and these ideas and say “tomorrow” or will you see your need for change today? Will you continue to look at your city and pray for someone else, or will you pray AND lead where possible? Are people really going to hell? Is racism really an issue? Are people really starving? Are people really without hope and killing themselves daily? If you know these things are true, will you just stand by while they happen or will YOU seek to change as the Spirit of God leads?