There’s a famous quote attributed to Gandhi that goes “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” It’s a fine quote as quotes go, but I feel that perhaps it’s missing just a little bit of oomph. If you would permit me to rephrase this, here’s my take: “Be the blessing that you wish to see in the world.”
You see, change is easy to advocate for and hard to live out. The Internet makes this process even more lop-sided. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums…there are so many opportunities now to make our voices heard, to state our opinions, to raise up one leader we admire or tear down another. But how much of this is simply sound and fury, signifying nothing? How much really changes as time goes by?
I think change shouldn’t be thought of as the goal, but rather the result. It’s the result of doing something else, doing something more basic, something more profound, something where humanity and divinity intersect. It’s the result of being a blessing.
Being a blessing means that you are living a life that is others-focused. The kinds of questions you ask yourself are more about other people than yourself. “How can I lift others’ burdens? How can I teach something I’ve learned to others? How can I delight others with creativity? How can I love more so others are encouraged and strengthened? How can I make sure everyone else feels safe and welcome?”
One of the authors of the Bible once wrote that followers of Jesus are “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and have been “created for good works which God prepared beforehand.”
In other words, spiritual living is essentially about receiving blessings from the One who created you and me, and then passing on our blessedness to others who are in need. I would even go a step further and argue that the divine goodness we can freely give to others is something God cares about deeply. It’s His primary objective for us in this world.
But wait, there’s more! Another scripture states that God’s desire is for people to “bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”
Now hold on just a minute there. It’s one thing to advocate blessing others who are in need and willing to receive a helping hand. But trying to bless those who hate you? Who don’t understand you? Who might be engaged in actively seeking out your destruction?
Expanding on the verse above, I think what it’s trying to tell us is this:
Instead of wishing for your enemies’ destruction, wish for your enemies’ salvation. Instead of planning how to eliminate them, plan how to enlighten them. Instead of imagining how the world would be a better place without them, imagine how much better the world would be when you make peace with them. Instead of focusing on how much they have hurt you, focus on how much they are hurting unless you reach out to make a difference.
You see, being a blessing isn’t just some la-dee-da affair replete with pixie dust and cheesy smiles. Being a blessing is a raw, gritty, down-to-business, no-holds-barred, life-and-death scenario. Every time you reach out to someone else in love, you are making waves. You are changing lives. You are changing history. And you are living out the spiritual path that God has set before you.
So let’s lay down the mantle of change, and take up the cause of being a blessing. Trying to transform into a “changed” individual at the drop of a hat is like trying to scoop up water through your fingers. Change happens as a result of acting in a manner that blesses those around you—even the people who aren’t “worthy”. Look for those spiritual blessings in the heavenly places that scripture describes, allow God’s blessings to permeate your heart and soul, and then ask Him to show you how to be a blessing to others. After a while, I suspect you will come to realize that, without really thinking about it, the world has been forever changed.