May 31, 2017

We live in a time where it seems, we constantly hear about incredible terrorist acts or mass shootings. We live in a time where there is so much meanness, where we are divided, where we are extremes on the right and the left. We live in a time where it sure is easy to become cynical, to become afraid, to become harsh ourselves to try to make it in this kind of a world. There are three things that I believe we can do to rise up above the time in which we live and make a difference!

#1: Have faith

What we can easily forget in these times is that we should approach life with faith, rather than becoming harsh and cynical with the rest of the world. Faith is not an ascribed set of beliefs, faith is trusting in God’s love for us, His children. When we trust in God’s love towards us we become less judgmental towards others and become compassionate. The word compassion does not mean “to feel sorry for”, that is sympathy. Compassion is to “feel with.” The word “faith” literally means to feel with. When I put myself in your place and I sense your pain and I hurt with you, that’s compassion. And if we trust God’s love and live in faith, it moves us to compassion and you approach a world that can be harsh, hateful and angry in a whole different way. You literally approach it with kindness and what you discover is that even in this kind of world, you can be kind and make a difference!

#2 Be a giver

In this world there are 2 kinds of people there are givers and there are takers. Takers expect the world to revolve around them, they want to know, “what about me, what can I have, what can I get out of this and are other people acting the way I want them to?” Others have made a fundamental decision to be kind, to see the needs of other and to reach out and bless. As people of faith we believe it’s because God loved us that we now want to love other people, we want to be kind.

#3 Act as group

Kind people really are changing the world and they are doing it, together, as a group! A few summers ago, Marsha and I travelled to England where we followed the spiritual pilgrimage of John Wesley’s life. As we went all around England, we saw how John Wesley had travelled a quarter-of-a-million miles on horseback in the 1700s, he brought people together to form small groups. He had 5 expectations for the newly formed Methodists and they included providing food and clothing to the poor and providing materials like plows, hoes and seeds, so that crops could be planted. These small groups pooled their money together to offer small loans to people with no interest, people who couldn’t get loans. Today we call them micro-loans and people win Nobel Prizes for it. John Wesley was doing it back in the 1700s. He also felt it was important to offer school for children of the poor and he believed that every adult should know how to read. He believed everyone should have access to medical care. This is what John
Wesley was doing in the 1700s. John Wesley took a group of people who were the socio-economic low-class and by the end of his lifetime, they had become middle and middle-upper class. Historians say John Wesley literally saved England in the 1700s in the Industrial Revolution. And how did he do it? By faithful people who made a fundamental decision to be kind, to give their time, their talents, their money, in order to bless life, they did it together and they changed England in the 1700s. When you know what it means to trust God’s love then you choose to be kind. And when we do it together, we are able to help change the world.