And everyone, clothe yourselves with humility toward each other. God stands against the proud, but he gives favor to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves under God’s power so that he may raise you up in the last day. Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you. – 1 Peter 5:5-7
“If we do not need to ask for forgiveness then we will always be a stranger to grace.”
My heart is troubled; so long as so many of us lack humility we will be hard-pressed to bridge the impasse between people who have such fundamentally different views when it comes to what is troubling America, and such polar opposite visions for the road forward.
The bottom line, I believe, is that America is troubling itself; I am confident we can all agree on that. So the question becomes one of response. Do we blame others (you know, those other people, that “other” political party, other races, other regions of the country, the Chinese…)? Or, do we commit ourselves to being part of the solution?
Admitting and Committing (real, substantial change is absolutely possible!)
The only place where we can start to make real change is in ourselves. That means admitting and committing – admit that we are part of the problem and commit to personal change.
Yes, personal change (as a leader/writer/speaker in the area of discipleship, that is generally my focus). And personal change almost always begins with confession. Consider this:
- If we believe we already know the answers then we do not need to listen;
- If we feel that we have nothing to learn we will never learn anything;
- If we are eager to point out what is wrong with other people, it is evident we are not prepared to grow ourselves;
- If we are convinced we are not sinners then we certainly don’t need salvation;
- If we do not need to ask for forgiveness then we will always be a stranger to grace.
Don’t be a stranger to grace.
I have shared this story before. One of my Upper Room books was in production when my editor tried to change my use of openspirited (and WordPress just flagged it as a misspelling!). “I am sure you meant openhearted, or maybe openminded,” he said. “There is no such word as openspirited.” But I insisted and the word remained, because openspirited is a thing. And, now the word is in print in one of my books, it shouldn’t be long before it is!
To be openspirited is to be willing to have our souls laid bare, the windows of our hearts wide open so the Spirit of God can refresh us, teaching us more love, more light, more grace, more mercy, more – and this is huge – humility.
Let me close with one (sadly fictional) example of how God works if only we open our hearts and spirits to learn humbly from Jesus. The year is 1619, and early settlers become the first “Americans” to purchase slaves (from a Dutch trading vessel). What if openspirited colonists had paid the price and then immediately invited their African brothers and sisters to become free members of their community?
“We believe that all human beings are created equal,” they may have said. “You are welcome to live among us, work where you can contribute, and be part of this great experiment of living faithfully.”
Imagine that as the precedent that established something new in this New World?
Here is the power trifecta: Personal confession, personal commitment to change, personal openspirited discipleship.
In love, and because love keeps us humble – DEREK