Yes, I'm referencing Mahatma Gandhi's popular quote, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world." It's an awesome quote- one that glares into the soul of each and ignites a call to action- a call that corresponds to our passion and the world's need. I'm going to springboard off of that quote in a direction that you may not expect, so hang in there.
There are so many things in this world that I don't fully agree with or am critical of. I would't say I'm a negative person, but I honestly enjoy thinking critically. It sort of just comes naturally. My husband and I can sit forever picking apart events and conversations, dissecting and criticizing till the cows come home. Most of the time it starts out innocently- I'm frustrated and need to vent, I'm genuinely concerned about the direction a person or group is taking, etc. Well, I can't speak for my husband, but for me, my venting and criticizing is a snowballing frenzy that escalates till my head swells to grotesque proportions. In the end, I am always "right", so very right, and everyone else is so clueless and "wrong" that it's a bit silly. Really, how do I manage to always know what is best while everyone else flails about in a pool of poor judgement and outright evils?
All exaggerations aside, I've been overly critical and downright wrong often enough, but there are those times when I am at least partially justified in my reactions to my experiences. The problem is, I get it in my head that just by TALKING about it, I am justified. Just by noticing and pointing out someone else's mistake, oversight or outright failure, is somehow supposed to make me the better person. Reminds me of the back and forth between the kid Joey and pilot Roger Murdock (Kareem Abdul Jabbar ) in the movie "Airplane":
Joey: I think you're the greatest, but my dad says you don't work hard enough on defense.
[Kareem's getting mad]
Joey: And he says that lots of times, you don't even run down court. And that you don't really try... except during the playoffs.
Roger Murdock: [breaking character] The hell I don't! LISTEN KID! I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes. (IMDB)
It's so easy to watch the game, and criticize everything that could have gone differently, then walk away when it's all over with a sort of smugness that says, "Boy, if it were up to ME..." That's ridiculous- if any of us could actually beat the guys on the court then we would be playing, not watching. But in life, a lot of times we DO have the opportunity to change the way things are. Instead, so often we judge others because it's easier than actually being who we know we could be- should be.
Matthew 7:3-4 says,
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
I'd like to think if you combine that and Gandhi's quote you'd get something like, "Why do you act like others are blocking the change you wish to see in the world when you yourself won't do anything about it." Again, it's not always that we are wrong- but complaining alone is not the way to make a difference.
I was recently convicted about a specific area of this in my own life, and I'm making baby steps to change. It is not easy, and of course, like a moth to light I'm still drawn to feel pride that now I'm doing something- being better. But what I know in the depths of my heart and must repeat over and over to myself is this:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
So let's remain in Him and together Be the Change.