I know what you’re thinking: That’s a mighty bold statement I made in the title of this post. And now you’re wondering how I could possibly put Everything you needed to know in one post. Or, maybe if you’re someone who has read my blog for some time now and you can see where I’m going with this.
Either way, stay with me. It’ll be worth it.
Before I get into the details, I want to share a story with you. It’s not my story, but one that you might know. I’ll leave out the name of the movie and of the character to avoid any spoilers for those who haven’t seen the movie or (for some odd reason) are not familiar with the character and their decades of exposure to the world.
You see, our character is a young boy who has a certain reputation. He makes a lot of mistakes. A lot of mistakes. It seems that, for him, even the simplest of tasks becomes an opportunity for epic disaster.
This young man feels the weight of those mistakes and he thinks that they define him. It doesn’t help that some of the other children do define him by these mistakes. He obsesses about these mistakes, especially when a new girl moves in across the street from him.
He longs to impress this new girl. So great is his desire, that he takes the advice of a friend and tries his hardest to become a Winner instead of a Loser. He works hard, and he actually succeeds at many of the tasks he sets his mind to.
But, even though he works so hard to improve himself, other things happen along the way. Things that make him step aside from his pursuit of becoming a Winner. Other people need his help, and they know they can always count on him because of who he already is. When his sister is on the threshold of major humiliation, he humiliates himself on purpose and helps her win a talent contest. When a mistake is made that puts him in the limelight, he realizes what happened and who really deserved the accolades and he makes sure everyone knows it. He makes a promise to helps someone on a school project and he foregoes all other distractions to complete a monstrous task and fulfills that promise.
He consistently puts others ahead of himself. And for that, the new girl sees him as a Winner. Not his hard work to change himself, but all those little things that made him who he was already.
So…how does this apply to Everything You Need to Know About Making the World a Better Place?
The first place to start: Putting others above yourself.
There’s a very popular book by Rick Warren called Purpose Driven Life. The only thing I want you to get from it right now is the first line: It’s not about you.
It flies in the face of what we’re taught in the here and now, in this culture of achievement we live. We often hear “You’ve gotta take care of number one!”
OK. I can buy that. Except, number one isn’t you.
A side note: In order to be more effective in helping others, you do need to take care of yourself. You can not give from an empty well. If you burn yourself out, you’ll hurt a lot more than you’ll help.
Now that we have that first step out of the way, where do we go from there? If I put others in front of me, how does that change the world?
It can be overwhelming when we look at the needs of the world around me. Many times I look at the injustices I see, and it’s too much. It becomes so overwhelming that I freeze.
I don’t do anything, because there is too much to do!
That’s where this second step comes in. It has two parts, but it really is one step.
Focus, and start small.
I’ve talked about focus a few times on this blog, especially when it comes to social justice. I write about a lot of organizations that are doing great things, but I’ve written how I’ve focused on Compassion International. I chose one to help. It doesn’t mean that other organizations are less worthy, but I chose to focus on one so that I can be more effective in my efforts.
It’s like a LASER, if you know anything about light. A LASER is only light, focused. It becomes a lot more powerful, a lot more effective in the purpose it is used.
I also say start small.
Do you remember the story I shared above? The boy spent a lot of effort trying to make big changes, but it was the small efforts that made the biggest impact on the biggest number of people.
A smile can do wonders in the day-to-day grind we find ourselves. It can change someones grey, cloudy day. It won’t change everyone’s attitude, but it will change someone’s.
What about your spouse? An email telling them that you’re thinking about them is a great start to the morning. A note to your kid(s) telling them how much you love being their parent can send shock-waves of positive thoughts through their day.
And you can build from there. The point is, it’s not about you. Look at the people around you and think, what could they use in that one moment. A word just to show them that they have value, that someone notices that they exist.
It can change their world.
The third step is probably the most important step, and can explode your impact beyond all you can imagine, and maybe all that you will know.
That’s not a step!
Some of you might say that. And, you’re right. God is not a step, but the step has everything to do with God.
You see, I believe all of us are made in the image of God. That’s why we are able to do good or to do evil. We have the choice. (I’ve mentioned a time or two that evil isn’t a thing, but the lack of good…just like cold is the lack of heat, it’s not an energy on its own).
You see, God is the source of good. You can’t really say that God is good – because that would say that good is something outside of God. (I know, I’m getting philosophical here). All good comes from God. The closer something is to God, the more good it is.
So, we want to do good in this world. We want to change this world for the good.
I believe everyone of us is capable of doing that good. But, how much more powerful would it be if we were plugged in to the source of good?
By plugged in, I mean that our lives are centered completely in God.
We can have this, through Jesus. Jesus offered us a way to be plugged in to God.
A restoration of the way it was meant to be. A mending of all that was broken when we chose to try and do the good apart from Him.
So, if you want to make this world a better place, you can do the first two steps and a lot of good things will happen because of them. You will make positive ripples against the overwhelming negative tide.
But, if you want to overwhelm that negative tide, the third step, the mending of a broken relationship with God through Jesus, is the way to go.
Combine those three steps, and things will change.
Yes, bad things will happen. In the movie I mentioned, bad things still happened to the young boy. But it was his unchanging attitude of putting others first in spite of those bad things that made the biggest difference. And made, in just the small part of his world, a better place for him and his friends.
So, what do you think? Will these three steps help you change the world? Comment below and sound off! Give your thoughts/opinions on what is needed to make the world a better place. Also, I’d love to hear what small things you do every day to make it a better day for someone else.
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