As we experience uncertainty and turmoil in our families and communities, as a nation and throughout the world, we must allow them to act as catalysts that set us on a quest for positive change. Change is crucial for continued growth. Real change starts in us, then moves beyond us, and the ripple affect can be quite a blessing. Let’s think through a path that could bring this about:
It’s truly disheartening how rare it is to encounter true courtesy in today’s society. Common courtesy, civility and simple politeness are overwhelmed and overrun by prejudice, inflammatory remarks, lies, hate, criminality, and disrespect, making it difficult to achieve even in oneself. However, I believe genuine courtesy and civility are among the most crucial items needed in modern societal life. Without the humility and calm inherent to an attitude of courtesy, our daily lives will continue to be consumed by arguments, strife, and death. This is the first aspect of change we must enact.
Mercifully, we are not left alone to determine what courtesy and civility might look like in this tumultuous world. Our Creator has given us timeless words of wisdom to follow even now in 2020. In His Word, God details His desires and expectations for how to treat one another: with humility, respect, kindness, offering others our support, acceptance, prayer, and encouragement. Healthy relationships, whole families, healed communities, and strong nations would undoubtedly arise from a foundation of these biblical basics. I would encourage you to include them in your everyday behavior and speech; you’ll see positive changes in yourself and those around you.
This leads us to the next essential component: compassion. A “Good Samaritan” kind of compassion, one that is ready to help heal the wounds of an enemy, foregoing the temptation to disregard or add to their pain. A compassion that realizes we are all part of a shared race, the human race, and that because of this, we need each other. A compassion that steps in to care about the “other,” rather than deliberate the differences between us. An attitude that decides not to use those perceived differences against others. A genuine desire to see the good in others and to work together to find solutions and foster progress. Without this kind of deep and genuine compassion, people are lost in pain, suffering from healable wounds, grieving countless losses alone, and inevitably death will reign.
Real change starts in us, then moves beyond us.
Once we allow courtesy and compassion to guide us, in even the most uncivil of times, we will truly be ready to sit down and have hard conversations – and have them we must. We must reach across all types of barriers, considering our God-given responsibility to treat one another according to His guidelines mentioned above. We must stop using difference as an excuse to divide and start finding ways either to eliminate those differences or utilize them for the benefit of those who are in need, just as the Good Samaritan did. We must recognize the need for compromise and keep our convictions in prayerful consideration. If we ever want to resolve and heal the matters that have torn us apart and caused such pain, we need to have difficult conversations with the goal of unification and healing.
Disunity has plagued our nation and our world for too long, wouldn’t you agree? Remember that change starts in us…only then can it affect everything and everyone around us. If we were to commit to be part of the solution and not the problem, and to use the tools outlined above, do you feel that we could move forward as a culture? If we spend our energy on courtesy, compassion, and conversation, maybe we could build ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren a society to be proud of. I truly believe I can do my part to make that happen. How about you?