flowers and weeds.

We all have a different context by which our lives are framed—different lens for seeing the world. That’s how the world works. You are born into the life you are born into. And this—this is to those wearing the same lens I am.

 

See if this describes you: between 20 and 30, white, “middle class”. You’re from some type of suburbs (no, I’m from some other small city. Fine). You went to college. You grew up Christian. Maybe you worked at a summer camp. Maybe you were a YoungLife leader. Maybe you led vacation Bible school. Maybe you just went on a mission trip to Central America.

Whatever, you love Jesus. And probably coffee.

 

Maybe that isn’t exactly you, but these are your friends. Here is the thing: this is an amazing lens to be wearing. But if this is you, my friends, you have a role to play.

 

I hear all the time that the easiest way to stomach the news is to not watch it. People want to avoid those political Facebook posts. People urge you to just “see the good” .

 

There are still flowers in a world that feels overgrown by weeds. But the important thing, you know, is not just "seeing the good" instead of the bad. And maybe you can't turn a weed into a flower. You can’t change the mind of the aging white man who hurls hate or racist comments at the bottom of an article about President Obama. You can’t change the girls who comment “fat and ugly” on other girls Instagrams that they don’t even know. But you need to see it. You need to stop just seeing flowers because they’re prettier.

 

You sure as hell can plant some seeds, though.

You can make sure someone behind you knows how to read, knows how to fight ignorance, and knows how to love-- not the shallow, empty love that so many people preach-- but the real, full, offensive love that Jesus actually meant when He was inviting outcasts to be his best friends. But you know what else—first you have to read. You have to not ignore the world or be ignorant to what is going on. You have a responsibility to see people, to the world, to see the violence. You have to recognize it! Recognize people! Don’t go sit in a coffee shop and talk just about what the Lord is teaching you through your need to be patient in your own damn life.

 

And I’m not saying “America is falling apart” because that’s foolish. We have lived in a sinful, hateful, violent world since the beginning of time. We are surrounded by the results of sin: hate, terror, isolation, rivalry, selfishness.

Yes, the world needs redemption.

But we’re sitting here shaking our heads saying, “Come, Lord” when He already came!

He already came!

Stop asking Him to come back and go be the hands and feet of Jesus yourself.

 

Read the news. Get political. I’m always amazed by how little people know.

Yes, we live in a mess of a world.

Yes, it is sad.

Yes, it is scary.

But you are helping no one by ignoring the mess.

You are helping no one by justification of any means.

 

You have a role to play. But that has to stem from real, deep empathy.

Don’t belittle someone’s problem. Listen. Learn.

Crack the lens by which you see the world.

And then, for the sake of the world, say something worth being said.