An interesting thought has been floating around my mind recently. I’ve been noticing that God seems to be more ‘pro’ than ‘anti’. It’s not a debate about whether or not He wants us to be active – He does. Rather, my questioning is on our position/method. What if God is more ‘pro’ freedom than He is ‘anti’ captivity? Or more ‘pro’ empowerment than ‘anti’ demoralisation? Basically the standards are the same but the position has changed.
What if we were to look at our world from a position of being ‘pro’? Pro-active, pro-ductive, pro-vision. What if, instead of just pointing out the problem, we offer up creative solution ideas? What if, instead of boycotting the immoral companies, we make an effort to purchase from the ones doing great things and to go out of our way to say thank you for what they’re doing? What if, instead of making demands on companies, advertising firms, the media and trying to force them to suit our moral standards – we provide solutions on a grassroots level by educating our children on such issues and enabling them to be aware and savvy (for example)?
This is a new thought to me but I’ve been wrestling with this question for over a year: Does all this really work? Do all the letters, rallies, boycotting etc actually change anything? I don’t think these things are wrong or unproductive, but I think if ‘anti’ is the only position we take, we’re going to be pretty miserable and probably not as effective as we’d like. It’s an age-old rule that people respond better to positivity than negativity.
A prime example of this are the stories we’ve all heard when people who are ‘pro-life’ protest outside abortion clinics. Often with garish placards and chants. A wise woman once said that you can’t tell a woman not to have an abortion unless you’re willing to stand by her and help her through the pregnancy, help her with the choices she’ll need to make and be there for the follow-through of that. To me, that sounds more ‘pro-life’ than ‘anti-abortion’. Does that make sense?
Jane Evans summed it up so beautiful in her article in the current issue of Enhance Magazine (which, if you haven’t already read, you must. It’s a must-have for women who want more of God and to have fun in the meantime!) Here’s what she says (abbrev):
There is a walking track down the end of our street along linear park. I love to walk there as often as I can; it’s where I go to pray. There’s only one problem, bikes also use the track. While I’m talking to God they whiz past and terrify the life out of me! They’re supposed to ring their bells but they never do.
When I was in primary school I was run over by a boy called John Woodward who was riding home on his bike. Consequently it has left me a little wary of bikes! So when these bikes whiz past it’s started to get me really mad and I want to yell at them, but somehow I never do.
Last week I was walking and praying and it happened about three times in the space of two minutes! I was mad and I had a bit of a whine to God. I wanted Him to change their behaviour, to somehow make everyone who came up behind me aware of the need to ring their bell… or at least make them fall off their bikes as they passed me if they didn’t!
It hit me like an explosion! I suddenly realized that I was trying to change the behaviour of everyone else around me, and God was gently suggesting to me that perhaps I should change MINE INSTEAD, to change where I was walking!
Jane goes on to explain that instead of walking right over on the left side of the path to avoid bikes, she started walking in the centre of the path (just left of the white line!) which forced bikes to ring their bell so she could move over and let them pass. This way, she was never snuck up on again!
She goes on:
You and I have been called to walk a certain path in life and many of us have been walking in fear because we have been hurt in the past and God says to us, “I don’t want you to walk any longer in fear, I want you to take a bold step into the middle of that path that I have called you to walk on. Don’t look around you and try and change other people’s behavior, but look first at where you are walking, change your position, and I will take care of the rest.”
You see changing where you are walking not only changes the behaviour of others around you, it also changes you! Can I encourage you to look at where you are walking? Can I encourage you to step into the centre of the path that God has called you to walk and in faith taking full ownership of the path God has called you to walk.
See how much difference our position makes? Believe me, I want to see companies and advertisers called to task. I desperately want to see women the world over respected and treated as such. But, for a moment, imagine a whole different approach. Call it naiive if you like, but imagine if we could educate our children so well that advertising fell on deaf ears, taking the power away from advertisers and companies? Imagine if we embraced and cared for mums who would otherwise abort their babies (many amazing people have devoted themselves to caring for these precious women!) Imagine if we said ‘thank you’ to every newsagent who chose not to plaster soft porn all over the shop front? You can guarantee they wouldn’t change their tact in a hurry. Your one ‘thank you’ would remain in their mind for a long, long time.
Plus, smiles are contagious!
Afterall, God didn’t send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17).
Are our ways condemning or life giving?
These are just some thoughts, thrown together as I try to unjumble mine. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it all..