The other day, after having a conversation at work with one of my teammates, I made the comment in passing to my boss that we had, “just solved all the problems of the world” – referring to the recently concluded discussion. Often times we have little phrases that are convenient when an appropriate opportunity presents itself – like passing through someone’s office – and the phrase seemed to fit the needs of the moment. My conversation that took place just moments before hadn’t actually been about solving “all the world’s problems” as my little phrase had suggested, but the conversation was about life in general and how we all deal with it as individuals. I really do appreciate folks that are willing to discuss issues on a deeper level than, “How’s the weather?” Not that the weather isn’t important too. At first glance it would have been a stretch to think that the world needn”t worry anymore about the ills that plague it, as my remark had implied.
So my boss said in return, “How about Darfur – got that one solved?” For a moment I was at a loss for words, and in the pause I scratched my brain a bit inside of my cranium and then said, “Of course – that’s any easy one.” My boss looked back at me somewhat quizzically, awaiting some kind of explanation for my reply. I said, “All you have to do is change everyone’s heart in a moment – and the problem is solved. We know that people can have a change of heart, turn over a new leaf and become a new person overnight. It happens every day. So it’s possible that in the course of a day that everyone in the whole world could change their hearts in a moment – and all of the troubles of the world could fade away overnight. Essentially, it would be like Heaven on earth at that point.”
My boss just smiled, and looked at me like I wasn’t all there. I told him that this topic would become a future blog article called “Changing Hearts.” I’ve had a week or two to think about the topic now, and so here I am – picking up where I left off that conversation. When I have a topic to write about, it is merely an idea that I have in mind. I don’t outline these discussions in advance or anything – I just start writing and what I end up with – is it. So I haven’t explored this topic in detail – just pondered it over from time to time since then.
This is an interesting topic from many different aspects. We know that arrogant people consider only themselves (there are other words that we could use to describe them as well, but I’ll keep it simple and keep the focus on the topic at hand) – as if there are no other priorities in the greater world around them other than their own. In today’s Sunday paper (I love to read newspapers), one of the insert magazines had an article about the world’s 10 worst dictators. A dictator merely takes the concept of arrogance to unimaginable levels. The issue at the core of all of these arrogant people, dictators or otherwise, is the fact that they have no empathy for other people – their needs, concerns, issues or place in society. The arrogant person sees only themselves as the center of their universe that everything else revolves around – in a word – selfish. We also call these people “hard hearted.”
So the fix for anyone that is “hard hearted” is simply a “change of heart.” This is essentially the entire tenant of Christianity – to change people’s hearts and focus their attention from themselves, to God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. The greatest, and most challenging, aspect of Christianity in practice is to actually “love your neighbor as yourself.” We do know that it is physically possible to do, and there have been real live people throughout the ages that have demonstrated that this is possible, such as Mother Theresa in India working among the poorest of the poor and those that required comforting in their final moments of life.
So I went back into my bosses’ office a few minutes after my “changing hearts” comment and said, “You know, once I write this blog article about “changing hearts” it is very possible that in a matter of days everyone in the entire world could have either read it online, heard a report about it, or got the idea passed along to them from person to person to person. If that was the case, then everyone in the entire world could decide for themselves individually to change their hearts, and the world – in only a few days time – could live in real peace and prosperity and all the problems of the world would just go away.” He looked again at me with that quizzical look, and I said, “It really is possible. It may just be that as we stand before God when our life is over, He may only ask us only one question: What did we do in our lifetime to help usher in His Kingdom on earth? That would be a tough question to answer.” Then I just smiled and went back to my desk.
With God, everything IS possible – and I think the only thing that keeps us from actually believing it to be true – is our belief or lack thereof, that all things really ARE possible through Jesus. Really!