I have been at a loss for words recently, which is pretty unusual for me. Our country, the world even, seems to be spinning out of control. My heart and my head ache with feelings I can’t seem to express adequately. Words seem inappropriate or insignificant, and yet, words can be powerful and effective, or worse, hurtful. So many people seem to just add to the noise without really adding anything to the solution of our societal problems.
As much as I am a talker, I am even more of a doer. And this is where now I really feel helpless. What can I do or say to ease fear, to change attitudes and misconceptions, to make the world and my community and my home safer, kinder, better? I don’t consider myself part of the problem, per se, but I also recognize that my life has been easier than so many others in ways that I simply take for granted. I am not considered a threat just because of the nature of my existence or the color of my skin. I don’t feel afraid when I see a police officer because it is unlikely that I will be stopped or bothered at all. And so many other things that I probably do not appreciate because they have not been my reality. I recognize my own ignorance, and I have asked God to examine my heart and reveal to me my shortcomings because I want to do better, and I want to love others the way they deserve to be loved. I want to see all people the way God sees them.
Growing up in the Bible belt, it is hard not to learn as a child the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World.” Remember that one? “Red, and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” What changes? When and how are we taught that those lyrics aren’t true? Because friends, in case you have forgotten, they are true. At the core of all humanity is one Creator—a loving, generous, creative God, who cares about each person on His earth specifically and specially. No two of us are alike. When you look at a sunset, or a newborn baby, and you revel in how brilliant and creative God is, you are exactly right! Why can’t we look at all peoples from all over the world and from all walks of life in the same way? Even if our beliefs are not the same, our God is! God loves us all the same, whether we recognize it or not.
The center of the problem is the human heart and the sin that plagues it. As long as the world turns and humans exist, so will evil. A perfect peace will not exist on this side of Heaven. But until then, there are some things we can do….
Examine your heart. Work on your own hang ups by giving them to God.
Plant a seed.
Be a light.
Dr. King said it best when he said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” We cannot fight the problems of this world by hating one another, by creating more venom and vile. We have to choose love. Day to day, moment by moment. In our homes, in our workplace, in our everyday, mundane tasks, we must choose love. We are all human and sometimes it is hard, but when you truly value another person, known or stranger, above yourself, when you truly consider that there is more to that person than what meets the eye, when you remember that we are all walking around dragging our own garbage that no one else can see, when you acknowledge that the same God who created and loves you created and loves them just as much, it is easier to just act in love. I promise it takes less effort and energy than the opposite!
In Galatians, Paul writes about planting seeds. As just one human, the burdens of this world and our problems can feel overwhelming. We feel helpless and hopeless and useless to make things better. But when you know God, you know that it is not in our own power that things change; it is in His power that things change. All God asks us to do, all of us, is just plant the seeds. He will make it grow! I cannot change a heart, but He can. We may not always see the fruits of our labor; it may be decades more before things really become the way they should be, but each of us can plant seeds for a brighter tomorrow. Each of us can do something everyday that makes the world better for our children and beyond. Simply plant the seeds, choose love, be a light in the dark, and let our all-powerful God do the thing He does best—create beauty from ashes.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9
In His Love,
Dr. Allison Key