Participate!

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!

The first day of the New Year. I would like to see everyone with the attitude reflected in the above Scripture. Can you imagine how different this world would look if we weren’t bombarded with constant complaining about other people or situations that cannot be changed overnight? Can you imagine walking down a sidewalk of a busy city street and seeing people pass by you with genuine smiles on their faces looking at you rather than blank stares while they appear to be looking straight through you?

I have observed over the last several years that people are becoming more and more self involved and less observant. The reactions of people in stressful situations are generally more accusative rather than understanding. Even professional organizations, while trying to approach decisions with care, are often influenced by the majority to make more biased decisions rather than considering the long term possible consequences for everyone. People want quick answers and it appears they don’t care if they are really right or wrong. I include our government in on that one, too, although I believe if they were to eliminate all possibility of add-ons to their proposals, there would be quicker and wiser decisions for our country. But that’s another subject and I’m not educated enough on the subject to really stick my nose into it that far.

What I see, however, is our youth being sucked into this world of misery and loneliness even though social media claims to have everyone “connected” even more than ever. Connection is more than communication. It’s being a part of the world around you. It’s walking down the street and noticing other people who may be in distress, or need, or overwhelmingly joyful. Not just noticing, but participating with them and giving support and encouragement. As much as a lot of us would like it, you can’t do that with a computer or phone screen. Not to the extent of being in the same room with someone who can immediately give you a look of gratification.

Jesus participated in the flesh, and if we look very closely, we can see Him participate in the Spirit as well. He’s the influence we need to be able to offer that encouragement to strangers we run across who are in need. When we hear stories of older couples adopting children because they heard about the horrible circumstances the children were living in, you know Jesus is participating. The young man who drives in his car singing at the top of his lungs during traffic jams and watching others in their cars join along with him….I believe that’s Jesus, too. If we are observant, we can find it all over the place and find encouragement for ourselves then to go out and do the same.

If we choose to participate in the year 2014, we will open the doors for happiness, peace and love to enter our lives. By participating, we will have more of the mind of Christ rather than a mind to complain and blame others for our situations. We will be able to spread the love we experience through Christ rather than make others feel guilty for their bad choices (yea, like we never made any bad choices). Jesus hung out with thieves, prostitutes and all other kinds of sinners. He did it out of love and was an example to them for what love really looks like. Our problem is, we aren’t participating enough in our own relationship with Him to be strong enough to be that example. So what do we do? We shift the focus back to them and try to make them feel guilty for their sins. Jesus didn’t do it to me, I certainly have no right to do it to anyone else.

My resolution for 2014? Participate even more than before. First with Jesus Christ and next with my human neighbors. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I can spread His love. If we want to change the world, that’s what we have to do. Participate.

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