In the aftermath of much tragedy in our country, we have heard from many dignitaries and public leaders about our need for transformation as a nation, to end hate, to show love through our actions not just with our words.
At the memorial service for the five officers killed in Dallas, President Obama said,”I believe our righteous anger can be transformed into more justice and more peace. Weeping may endure for a night but I’m convinced joy comes in the morning.”
I applaud these leaders for calling for love, peace, compassion, and empathy. But I know, from my own experience, that transformation, that Growing Up, will come through the indwelling of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Dallas Willard once said, “There are no human solutions to human problems.” That is a provocative statement that could be debated in particulars but the point is still valid. What capacity have humans shown to change themselves? To suddenly turn hate to love? From lying to truth? From contempt to peace? The evidence is strongly against the thought that, on our own, we are able to make such drastic heart changes.
Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
Your job is not to take on the responsibility of becoming more loving and kind on your own, as much as we may want to. Your job is to abide in Christ – to pursue him, listen to him, seek his guidance, call for his transformation in your life, tap into his dwelling inside you. Then you will start to bear fruit, then you will start to demonstrate love and compassion, then you will be a change agent.
What about our nation and community? Not until you change and share the transforming power of Christ with others will we see widespread and lasting change.
photo credit: Larry Smith/epa