By Jeff Borders
A CRUCIAL ERROR
With a constant stream of news media and social media for us to consume, it’s easy to see how anyone can slip into a state of apathy over what is occurring in the world. We see continual reports of riots, wars, plagues, famines and natural disasters. By all accounts, it would appear that half of the country hates the other half. Somehow we’ve moved from looking at each other as someone we can disagree with in a civil way; to viewing a dissenting opinion as the view of an enemy. It would make even the most stalwart of people want to bury their head in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening.
It is so easy to feel that there is no fixing the problems facing the world.
And though it may seem more parody than truth, it appears as if politics is the fastest growing religion in America. We spend more time worshipping at the altar of the almighty donkey or an elephant, than communing with the God of the universe. We’ve lost the ability to listen to and learn from each other, if ever we had it, instead retreating to the safety of our “teams.”
I believe that one of the crucial errors in our thinking is believing that we can change anything in a broken world, without recognizing that we are broken too and we need something to fix us.
It’s OK to be broken. I don’t know anyone who isn’t broken in some way. It is a part of our mortal journey. It’s when we allow the brokenness, frustration, and lack of peace in the world to define our emotion, personality, and more importantly our actions and reactions toward others, that we give Satan a foothold in our lives.
TEACH US UNCLE SCREWTAPE
In his book, “The Screwtape Letters,” famed author, C.S. Lewis had this to say about focusing on fixing the world, rather than fixing ourselves.
“My dear Wormwood,
Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serve as an excellent distraction from advancing in virtue, character formation, and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration, and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to avoid any kids of charity or inner peace from further developing. Be sure the patient continues to believe that the problem is “out there” in the “broken system” rather than recognizing there is a problem within himself.
Keep up the good work,
The Father of all Lies is going to do his best to keep us from taking an introspective look at our circumstances. He wants us to be so worried, angered, and frustrated with everything and everyone else. I am just as guilty as the next person at falling into this trap. It helps to know what we can do to begin to square ourselves to God and follow his desires for us.
It would be so easy to become a pessimist about the world. It may look like I may be slipping that way in my writing of this article, but I really am an eternal optimist. I believe that despite the lack of peace in the world, that we can still tap into the source of true peace.
Neil F. Marriott, in her talk Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach said, “When we give our heart to the Father and the Son, we change our world—even if circumstances around us do not change. We draw closer to Heavenly Father and feel His tender acceptance of our efforts to be true disciples of Christ. Our discernment, confidence, and faith increase.”
Once we have drawn closer to the Father, we can begin to repair ourselves and make sure we are walking on the path that he desires us to walk on. When we fix our hearts on God we can gain access to true peace. Then we will have a desire to act as our Savior would. We are promised if we make an effort to act as Christ would act, he will strengthen us in our efforts. As we begin to make ourselves right with God, we will see a positive impact on our family. As we fix our families, we will see a positive impact on our communities, then our states, then our world. But it all starts with us taking an inventory of what we need to fix in ourselves, then going to God and asking for his help to change and become better.
We should remember that despite what is happening around us, we have a source of comfort and help. When there’s no peace on Earth, there is peace in Christ. We just need to humble ourselves before him, and apply his miraculous healing power in our lives.
Seems too simplistic? Give it a try. Take a personal inventory with God. Look for areas you can improve on, and when you work on those things, look closely and see what impact it has on the relationships with those closest to you. You may be surprised what you see.
We may not see a direct impact on our world right away, but if we all are working to make ourselves better than we were yesterday, imagine the long-term positive impact that can have on our lives and those around us.