Race Alum Andrew Chambers proposes a new way to change the world and bring Kingdom to earth: from the inside out.
I’m currently living in Mijas, Spain, a beautiful mountainside pueblo overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It’s peaceful here, except for the barrage of newly retired British tourists walking around with their shirts off. The sun rises over the mountains as it illuminates the ocean. Coffee shops sleepily open for the day around 9 am, when the rest of the world is already at work. Residents stop to greet each other as they walk through the streets lined with white washed history. Yes, it’s serene here, and sometimes we forget that there is still a world out there where everything isn’t like it is in our small community.
I stopped to see some friends enjoying the sun the other day (mostly composed of the Brits fondly referred to above) when an older gentlemen named Billy and I started talking. He asked what I was learning in the leadership academy that I attend and I told him about the hope that I had recently acquired that we could actually bring kingdom to this earth. That we could actually make this world a better place. That all this was going somewhere. It has a purpose.
Billy, understandably so, didn’t understand my enthusiasm. He told me about all the pain he has seen in his life, including his time in the service of the British military. He reminded me that ISIS is out of control in the Middle East. That Donald Trump is making a mockery of American politics. Of the terrorist attack on the parliament building in London. Of the horrors of the Cold War USSR. Of genocide in Cambodia. Of poverty. Of hunger. He told me how his brother and sister in law had had such a hard life that they literally decided against having kids because they refused to bring children into a world like this.
And then he finished with the question, “What is wrong with this world?”
To be honest, I didn’t have an answer then.
Because the truth is, many people are asking that these days, and have been for a long time. When will the violence stop? Why is ISIS terrorizing the Middle East? Why can’t there be racial reconciliation in America? Why are kids starving in north Africa? Why are gangs out of control in cities like Chicago, San Pedro Sula, Memphis, and Tegucigalpa? Why are families falling apart? Why does fatherlessness abound? Where is God, and what is wrong with the world?
Liberals will tell you that Donald Trump is wrong with the world. Republicans will say that it’s the crime rate. Middle class whites will say that it’s the immigrants. Immigrants will say that it’s the middle class whites. Americans will say that it’s ISIS. ISIS blames the West. Social justice workers will say that education needs to be fixed. Civil Rights activists call for affirmative action. Christians blame muslims and homosexuals. Millennials blame the older generation and the older generation blames the millennial. I blame the community I grew up in.
There’s a pattern here, and it has to deal with who’s to blame. The answer we normally go to? Everybody except for ourselves.
I’d like to propose a new way.
It’s said that during World War II, the Times sent out letters to famous writers and public intellects asking them the question, “what is wrong with the world?” They received this reply from GK Chesterton, one of the greatest thinkers of the 19th Century:
What is wrong with the world? I AM.
He’s joined by the likes of Michael Jackson (Man in the Mirror was an international hit) and 2Pac (“take the evil out the people and they’ll be actin’ right…”)
And I think they are on to something.
Everyone knows that something is wrong with the world, but how many of us have actually taken the time to take a good hard look at our own selves? It’s easy to blame this group or that person, but how often do I recognize my own anger? My own unforgiveness? My own greed? My own stubbornness? My own fears? My own refusal to fight injustice? My own judgement of other human beings?
Because if we look at most of the problems in the world, they are caused by human beings. People formed from the dust in the image of the living God. Breathed into by God. People like you and I. And if we look deep enough at the problems, we’ll find that you and I aren’t as innocent as we thought. Because the hurt and pain of the world didn’t start with one country bombing another or a gang war in Chicago. It started close to home. Actually, it started in a home. Wife to husband, and then brother to brother. And then, just as now, we never looked at ourselves to see what was wrong. We shifted the blame and the responsibility.
But there’s good news. 2,000 years ago, a Middle Eastern virgin gave birth to God with skin on. And God with skin on clearly saw what was wrong. He clearly saw that it was us. And then He took it on Himself and decided to offer us forgiveness. He decided to offer us a clean start, and He loved us so much that He came and put skin on to show us how to do it.
Many people come to Jesus for forgiveness, but He came for so much more than that. He came to heal our soul. To lead us to repentance. He came to heal us of our anger. To heal us of the pride that causes us to put ourselves over and above another. Of the judgement in our hearts. Of our shame. Of our lusts. Of our greed. He came to heal it all. And to do it for free. But in order for the doctor to work, the patient has to own that there is a problem. And that’s on us.
When will this world become a better place? When I’m transformed from the inside out. When my soul is healed. When I let Jesus change me. When I decide to fight FOR my community instead of against it. When I decide to have a conversation with someone of a different viewpoint instead of judging them. When I decide to help the crack addict down the street instead of watching him waste away.
I don’t know about you, but that’s really GOOD NEWS to me. Because not only can I be healed, but as I am, so will the world be.
What’s wrong with the world? I AM. But we’re working on it.
Do you want to do something about the pain you see in the world? Want to be part of bringing Kingdom to earth? Check out our World Race routes to be God’s hands and feet in 11 countries in 11 months!