In light of the continued unrest in our nation, I decided to post this as a continuation of my previous post “Such a Time as This”.
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— Ephesians 6:18 NLT
The next step in fighting an unseen enemy is being in unity. In the book of Ephesians, Paul urges us to pray for all the saints; redeemed people of God. There is power in numbers. The most powerful prayer is the prayer of agreement. “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I shall be in the midst” [Matt 18:19-20]. Paul calls for prayer for others AFTER we have put on the full armor of God and taken care of ourselves. Unity starts with you. I used to think that the emergency safety instructions on the airplane to put on your mask first was selfish. Then I thought about it. You can’t help someone else if you’re in a debilitated state yourself. You are much more effective if your are operating at 100% capacity. Self care is important. We can’t have unity if we are imbalanced within our own bodies.
One nation. Under God. Indivisible. With liberty and justice for ALL. I found myself praying those words as I pray for our nation. Those words used to be spoken over America everyday by millions of people. The original Pledge of Allegiance did not include the words “under God.” Interestingly enough, those words were added by Congress during the Cold War. The words in the Pledge of Allegiance unified us as Americans for generations. Somewhere along the line it became cool to rebel against America; to refuse to say the pledge, to refuse to respect the flag, to be offended by unity and allegiance. Whether you agree with the government or not, people died to make America the land of the free and the home of the brave. Basically, you have America to thank for the freedom to hate America. Think about that. Yeah things are crazy right now and it’s not looking good for the home team, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
It’s funny how there could be so much discord in a nation that literally has unity in the name! When we aren’t unified and fight against each other we’re fighting against our own bodies regardless of race, creed, or color. We are destroying ourselves from the inside out. But we’ve become okay with destroying our selves. Self destructive behavior like drinking, smoking, recreational drugs, promiscuity, all have become the norm and are even celebrated in America. So why are we surprised when people tear up their own neighborhoods, fight against their own families, and murder the people they swore to protect?
A few years ago I was incredibly unhappy at work. I call that time period my “quarter-life crisis”. During that time, I took what I thought was a leadership class. It turned out to be about how to operate when you’ve been called to a tough assignment. One of the points that was made was to work for the peace of the land. The scripture text was from Jeremiah 29:4-7. At the time the people of Israel were in captivity in Babylon. God told them to work for the peace of the land. Even though the Babylonians were their enemies and were holding them captive, as long as Babylon was at peace, they too would have peace. My point is whether you love America or not. Whether you agree with the Pledge of Allegiance or not, if you live in America, what happens to America happens to you also. If you want to live in peace, pray and work for America to have peace. If you want prosperity, pray and work for the prosperity of America. If you want your family to be safe, pray and work for the safety of your neighbor. If everyone did this it would impact the whole nation.
During my quarter life crisis, I realized if I wanted my job to get better, I had to be better. The only person I can change is me. If you want change, be changed. I asked myself if I was being the best employee I could be; the answer was no. So I changed. I stopped carpooling so I could stay late and come in early. I voluntarily worked a minimum of 96 hours a pay period when I was only getting paid for 80. It sucked but I did it because I was desperate. I knew I couldn’t go on with the way things were. America, we can’t go on with the way things are. If you want American to be better, look at yourself and see where you can be better.
You may be wondering how you changing can affect a nation. Let my assure you, the natives are watching. (Just read my post titled “P’s and Q’s”) In the midst of me working to change my situation, my manager came by my cube one day. He told me he saw another engineer smiling who hasn’t smiled in a while. He commented that it was nice to see that person smile again. As I was wondering why he was telling me this, he said the other engineer was smiling because that person had talked to me and I had changed that person’s perspective. That really touched my heart. That moment made all my sacrificing worth it and gave me the fuel I needed to keep it up. Change the world one world at a time; starting with your own. Treat people how you want to be treated, but don’t be dismayed when they never catch on. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” [Galatians 6:9].
If you won’t listen to the King of kings, at least listen to the King of pop. Start with the man in the mirror. Ask him change his ways. If you want to make the world a different place, take a look at yourself and make a change. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Do what you can to strengthen your link. The rest of the chain is depending on you.