'Be the change you want to see in the world'
|By Teri Ditslear|
Joy in the Journey
It is reasonable to think that Gandhi was the first to utter the words, "Be the change you want to see in the world," because all of the intranet sources say so. In reality, the quote was tweaked so that it could read better on a bumper sticker, on the back of your Honda Civic. The quote actually sounded more like, "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world changes towards him . . . We need not wait to see what others do."
Yes, Yes, I know that it is Easter weekend, and you probably think I should be quoting Jesus, a Jew from Galilee rather than an Indian, Hindu, pacifist, lawyer turned, gatherer of people to protest the governments oppressive treatment of the poor. And who ultimately was assassinated for his rabble rousing ways between the years 1915-1948.
Many hundreds of year prior, to the life and teachings of Gandhi, a man named Jesus, a pacifist by nature, educated in all things law, enemy of Rome and the Pharisees, became a gatherer of people who would eventually start the first church of the Christian faith, and who would carry on the teachings of a new way to live. Like Gandhi, Jesus also died a political death. According to scripture, Jesus never uttered those words, "Be the change you want to see in the world." However, his life is a living testament to that exact thought. Last Thursday, we celebrated, The Last Supper, Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Passover supper where Jesus washed the feet of not only his friends but also the one who would betray him the most. Yesterday, we commemorated Jesus' crucifixion, murder, death on a cross. This death was voluntary. He knew it was coming. Jesus knew it was necessary to give himself up for the sake of the world. Yes, he took on our sins and died for them, but more importantly is that he sacrificed himself. This is the most important teaching. How can someone love so much, give up their life, so that we might understand that there is a better way to live?
Are we encouraged to live sacrificial lives because of the witness of Jesus? We all know people who sacrifice daily on behalf of people they love. Moms and dads give up money, sleep, material objects, and lifestyles as a way of sacrifice for their children. Adult children often take care of their aging parents. People in non profits work tirelessly and often sacrificially for the betterment of people in need. Our military gives up their lives and wellbeing so that we may live without fear. There are kind people everywhere. But, because sin has invaded our very souls, there is always more we can do. We can always love better, but we choose not to.
When Jesus is raised, resurrected on Easter morning, it is another teachable moment. The way to new life, the way to real joy is by giving up our lives for others. By loving more, forgiving more, being patient when we do not want to be, listening instead of always talking, large and small ways of giving up our own self, our own ego leads to life. The simple act of sacrificing ourselves, to be more like Jesus is one of the great accomplishments we can do for the whole world.
Jesus' Kingdom starts with being the change you want to see in the world. Do you want to see a more loving world? Love more. Do you want to see a less judgmental world? Judge less. Do you want to see a more generous world? Give more. Do you want to see a less corrosive social media? Do not engage. You get the point. All of these things take being sacrificial towards our friends, our families and our enemies. Jesus died for all of us, and Jesus was resurrected for all of us, as a sign of how to die to sin and how to live joyfully into new life of loving radically! Happy Easter!
Noblesville's Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at email@example.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com
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