When I first went to Germany in 1983, no one could even dream of a day when Europe would be free and united – except for a few key and very pivotal men: Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, Lech Walesa and Mikhail Gorbachev – who were all instrumental in their own ways in bringing change to Europe. Today we have a free, open and united Europe that wasn’t even a dream for most people in 1983 when Berlin was still divided West and East. Change seemed impossible at the time.
This example illustrates that synergy occurs when the right perspective is brought to a situation. When it comes to the world today, we’re faced with a polarized society and a world that is struggling to resolve the way ahead – with a majority of the people locked in a partisan divide representing a classic, “liberal” versus, “conservative” approach to solving the world’s problems. It seems like an impossible standoff with no possible solution – until you realize that there is a third way: Love.
Love changes everything. I’ve been on the conservative side of most issues for the majority of my life and recently I’ve come to the conclusion that the third way is indeed possible. Jesus taught us a number of very key concepts that serve as our focus for solving the problems of society and the world (New International Version – used with permission):
In Luke 10:27 Jesus said:
He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “
In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus said:
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
In Matthew 7:12 Jesus said:
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
In Matthew 7:1 Jesus said:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
In Luke 6:42 Jesus said:
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
With these five passages in mind, we can begin to develop a new perspective and outlook on the issues that face society and the world today. This series of articles will focus initially on national issues, and later on we’ll look at the world issues that exist between nations.
The first point is that the citizens of your own country are your friends and not your enemy – no matter their viewpoints – as we are told to love everyone. If you want other people to be open to your ideas then you also have to be open to theirs – and look at issues through their eyes. The second point is that we are not in a position to judge other people’s choices – we’ve been directed to be non judgemental towards others. If judgement is to be made, it is not our place to do it; and we should only be concerned with our own actions and ensure that our approach is taken out of love.
We live in a pluralistic country in the United States under a representative republic, which is just one form of democracy. There are other forms of democracy and they all serve much the same purpose, which is to establish a framework of governance that allows for a free and open society that protects everyone’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We don’t live in a theocracy and we shouldn’t want to – because it allows one, “religion” to set all the rules, which might be ok for you as long as your religion is the one calling the shots – but is an impossibility for you if someone else’s religion is ruling. This is the starting point of looking at society through someone else’s eyes.
The separation of church and state, even if it is a subjective reference – is fundamental for society because it prevents your personal views from dictating to other people how to live their life; while at the same time protects you from living under someone else’s personal rules – religious intent or not. I will fight to defend someone else’s liberty, and have; because my doing so protects my rights as well. This is a critical perspective because tomorrow someone may try to single us out for prejudice for whatever reason.
In a democracy the ballot box determines the rule of law, and no matter who is governing, we want to ensure that all people of whatever race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability – are given equal protection under the law. By defending others we defend ourselves and our right to be defended. When the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defends someone on the fringe of society, they are defending our individual rights as well – because tomorrow it might just be us that someone or some group comes after. Defending liberty and the right of defense for everyone is always the right thing to do.
What this series of articles hopes to attempt to do, will be to convince people that issues don’t have to be black and white, but can be all colors under the rainbow – and it is better if we approach topics from a variety of perspectives and approaches while searching for a solution. Consider the fact that life is short and we are in fact, “our brother’s keeper” – and when we open our eyes as well as our hearts to love, we find that – Love Changes Everything.