I was up late several nights this week, scouring the internet for answers. Big Tech’s censorship of some social media accounts I follow provoked me to lift the rug up in effort to find out what’s been brushed underneath it. I quickly found myself knee-deep in “conspiracy theories” that were truly terrifying. I’m not gullible enough to believe every wild thing I read or watch online is true. I’m also not stupid enough to believe the mainstream media is operating freely, without hidden agendas and powerful forces pulling the strings.
We are in an unprecedented time in history where information is being manipulated, truth is being hidden and justice seems like a far-off pipedream.
Regardless of whether there was any merit to the specific speculations I waded through in the wee hours of the night, the unsettling reality is this: there are countless horrors and atrocities happening in the world around us. Human trafficking, child abuse of every kind, widespread racial injustice, the perversion of truth for personal, financial and political gain are just a few of the shocking realities we’re facing. These hard-to-swallow realities tempt us to bury our heads in the sand and pretend evil doesn’t exist. After all, it’s too big to carry, too uncomfortable to face and much too daunting to ever think about changing.
My purpose in writing this isn’t to make you believe the world has gone to hell in a hand basket, so we should all be perpetually and heavily burdened by the pain of it all. I’m simply passing off my own conviction to you—the conviction to engage and connect when fear rages, discomfort keeps us silent and apathy lulls us to sleep. The truth is, we have more power to change the world than we’re aware of. The power to initiate change isn’t encapsulated within the powerful elite, the institutions we build or the religious processes we’re accustomed to. The power to initiate transformative change begins and ends with our connection and commitment to Unconditional Love.
Mother Theresa said “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” I saw a powerful graphic recently depicting this: Until you fix it in your heart and address it in your home, nothing in the world will change. We absolutely have the power to change the world because we get to choose whether we’ll allow change to enter our own hearts. We get to decide whether we will invite Unconditional Love in to have His way.
You’re probably wondering how a post that started with addressing the atrocious realities in the world veered off into what seems to be a froo-frooey conversation about Unconditional Love. Here are the facts: The dark and devastating things happening in the shadows of this world are a result of broken individuals with broken mindsets, mindlessly pushing evil agendas. Personal deceptions like greed, selfishness, perversion, bitterness, rage and hatred spread like the ink-cloud of an octopus within the sea. Societal decay is nothing more than collective individual decline.
If we aren’t active in pushing back against the evil cloud around us, our lives will be darkened by it. If we are blinded by our own dysfunction, we can’t see clearly enough to be a part of the solution.
When my marriage took a nosedive in 2018, God spoke to me a paraphrased version of the verse from Matthew 7:5. He said “Stop focusing on the speck in Michael’s eye instead of the log in yours.” Mind you, anyone from the outside would be able to look at our situation and see that I was the “good guy” and Michael was the “bad guy.” Michael did things that could easily have him pegged as the problem in the relationship. So why the heck was God telling me I was the one with the log in my eye? If you look up that verse, the rest of it says “then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” I was so busy focusing on the speck in Michael’s eye—his “wrongness,” his dysfunction, the garbage he was bringing into our marriage—that I was oblivious to my own, very real, contributions to our problems. I have no power over Michael’s stuff, only my own. I could never change or control him (trust me, I tried for years). But I could control myself. I could allow myself to be changed. I could repent for my own crap, allowing God to remove the log in my eye so that my vision would be clearer and I could be a part of the solution rather than continuing to point a finger at the “problem.”
I could invite Unconditional Love in to spark the real change I had no power to initiate alone.
The only way for me to have any type of authority in my marriage was to repent. To repent is to agree with God about what makes a person righteous. No matter how it looked on the outside, I wasn’t any more “righteous” than Michael because the source for righteousness is Jesus at work within our hearts. I couldn’t repent on behalf of Michael, but I could repent on behalf of me. I could agree that the judgement I was operating in towards Michael was wrong. So was the bitterness, the resentment, the unforgiveness and the anger. I could let go of my own need for revenge and leave room for God to have His way. Basically, I needed to deal with the darkness in my own heart so God’s light of love could shine bright, lighting up our marriage and exposing the roots of all the real problems.
Similarly, the only way for us to have authority in this big wide world is by conquering our own personal hell, applying the triumph and victory of Christ and allowing who He is and what He’s done to define us.
Most of us are so scared of the ugliness inside of us, we bury it, justify it or shove it into a closet. This is obvious by the way the church universally has operated. The church has created a safe little subculture rather than engaging in the culture around us. Fear has disarmed us, love beckons us to pick back up our weapons of Truth.
Instead of hiding, ignoring, stuffing or justifying when you’re faced with your own dysfunction, I beg you—engage it. Don’t run from it. Explore it and invite God to cut it off at the root and replace it with the truth. Inner healing leads to a healthy family. Heathy families lead to thriving communities. Thriving communities continue to ripple outward, affecting our entire planet.
Moral decline is subtle. Over time, evil conditions us to accept it’s atrocities, blinds us to injustice while feeding on our personal dysfunction. When we confront personal dysfunction, we send the ball rolling in the other direction. Just like moral decline is subtle, so is positive change.
It begins with you. It begins with me.
So, instead of allowing widespread evil to fill us with worry and anxiety over things we cannot change, let’s consider it an invitation for Unconditional Love to do its work within our own hearts. Let’s agree to allow God’s love to shape us into becoming all that He intended us to be. Remember, until we fix it in our hearts and address it in our homes, nothing will change within our world.
The world needs you. The world needs me.
Did you connect with anything I’ve written here? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.