This morning as I scrolled through Facebook and looked at news articles my heart hearts. All I see is hatred, acts of violence, and people using their words to damage and destroy. When you look at the timing and what's going on you could easily say this is because of the elections but that would be incorrect. What we see if not a result of someone not winning when they thought they should, what we are seeing is a reflection of the culture we've created. My incredibly wise husband said this last night, "Politicians don't shape our culture, they reflect it. We are the ones who shape our culture." As I look at the social media and news this is what I see. Our culture. We, as a society, have created a culture in which it's okay to hate people who disagree with you, who are different then you and who don't think the same way you do. It's not enough to just disagree with them, no we hate them. We resort to violence and malice. We use hateful words to tear down and destroy people. We use violence to physically assault people, destroy property and anything in our way. We've created a culture of double standards. I'm allowed to say this, or do these things but you are not. I'm allowed to feel this way and have my beliefs but you are not. I'm allowed to act in this way but you are not. In Matthew 7:2 and Mark 4:24 it talks about the measure or the ways that you judge or hold other people accountable will be the same standard or more that you will be judged or held accountable. As in you can't have double standards and yet we've created a culture that's built on them. We've created an incredibly selfish culture where it's all about me. My emotions, my plans, how it affects ME, what I want, Me, Me, Me. We've created clothing that says It's all about ME and then are surprised when people act like it's all about them. We, as a culture, rarely think about how our decisions long term or in that moment will affect other people. We've created a culture in which everyone is a winner and so the concept of being a gracious loser has been lost. Everyone gets a prize or a trophy despite the fact your team has played like crap all year long or you just didn't work as hard, have the needed skills or qualify. We've created a culture in which if you don't get your way you can throw a fit long enough and eventually you'll get what you want. We've created a culture of toddlers and because they are never told no or how to lose their tantrums only get bigger and more destructive. We've created a culture in which your feeling have more weight then facts and thus dictate everything. We've created a culture in which people think their opinions are the only ones that matter and want everyone and everything around them to confirm to how they feel or their opinion of something.
This culture has changed how our kids are raised, how businesses run, how we as a people group relate to the world and each other and has even infiltrated our churches.
The first way we change our culture is by changing ourselves. Look at your last text you sent or what you've posted lately on Facebook. How is it shaping our culture? Are you using words to tear people down or destroy? Have you joined in the violence that's all over the news? Are you holding people to standards you yourself are not being held to? Are you expecting more from others then you do yourself? Are you decisions based on the good of others or are they primarily based on how they affect you? When you make decisions are you thinking of how this will affect those around you currently and long term? Are you setting a good example in how to be a gracious loser and at times a gracious winner? In the elections? In a game with your kids? At a sporting event you played or as a spectator? How do you respond when you don't get your way? When things don't go how you had planned or what you wanted? Are you acting like a toddler or a responsible adult who understands you don't always get what you want when you want it. Are you being run by your feelings and emotions? Can you take a step back and look at things from someone else perspective? Are you convinced your opinions are the only right ones and do you expect everyone to agree with you? If they disagree how do you respond?
We all have areas that we need to work on and I'm pretty confident that there's at least a few things on this list alone that we need to change. Here's the thing we can't change the world until we change ourselves, our families and our own little sphere's of influence. And honestly we can't change these things on our own. We have to look at this the way Jesus would. How did He respond to all those who disagreed with Him? How did He treat those who lived and believed different then him? Jesus used His words to bring life and to heal and restore people. Are your words doing that? Jesus always put others first and went out of His way to help people. The movement of Christ didn't start through politics and politicians but despite of them. It started with how He loved on people and showing them a better way to live by modeling it for them.
In a time when our culture and society is broken and needs to be fixed, and not by a political system or politician, but by people who claim to be Christ followers, we have to live in a way that is vastly different then everyone else. We, Christ followers, have to love. Period. We have to love those who look different then us, those who act and live different then us, those we agree with and those we don't, those who we get along well with and those who annoy us to death. We are called to love and it's by that love people will know WHO we belong to (and I don't mean what politician we side with). We are called to sacrifice and that means we don't always get our way. We are called to serve, and yes even those you don't like or agree with. We are called to put others first and to think about their needs and how things will affect them.
Our culture is what we've made it but it's not permanent we can change it but that change starts with us. Our hearts. We all have things we need to change and work on and lets commit to makes changes in ourselves and our families and if we do that we can in fact change the world.