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To Change the World, You Must Change Your Heart

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There are many issues in our world, ranging from high unemployment rates, poverty, crime, corruption and failing cities. It’s happening all around the world even in our communities. Experts claim that creating more programs, jobs, and laws will fix these issues. It will fix some but not all. Life will certainly be filled with issues; our response will determine our future.

Many social programs, mentoring groups, and education alternatives are seeking to resolve our world and community issues. I applaud the work of these groups because they are doing some great and remarkable things. Parents, city councils, schools, and governments are getting involved and have proposed solutions but it seems our world is not getting any better. Taxes alone cannot solve or regulate these issues. Creating jobs for the community is good but it does not solve poverty and crime. While our government can mandate laws and actions for a better tomorrow it does nothing to change the heart of a person. For someone who can work but does not want to work or someone who violates the law without regard requires a heart change.

A heart changes the attitudes, beliefs, and perception of a person and its surroundings. The heart change is motivated by love. The heart change results in respect to one another regardless of their beliefs and perceptions. Blight, poverty, crime and corruption can be resolved when the heart is changed. When we look at the past conflicts in our country and other nations it boils down to the heart because of personal beliefs. Your belief and my belief will be different because of different experiences and preferences which mold and shape our heart. We can and should seek peace with our differences among each other. Jesus said two things to his opposition: One is to love God and the other is to love your neighbor as yourself. If carried out, this would have eliminated the conflicts they had with him. Although his opposition wanted him captured and eventually killed, he still loved and performed miracles for them even though they did not believe. I believe that the root of our world problems can be traced to a lack of love action for one another. Love actions are those acts that spark a change in the heart of someone that changes their life forever.

Our respect: The love process allows us to respect one another. Respecting our leaders must become a top priority. Disagreement will emerge but we must seek peace at all times. It is ok for us disagree; but we can disagree respectfully without degrading one another. Respecting others who are not leaders is just as crucial. Because you and I are different in our beliefs and preferences do not mean that we should throw respect out the window. Respect becomes the cornerstone of love and should be displayed in all persons regardless of race, color, creed, and nationality. Try going to lunch with someone who is totally different than you in religion, race, economic, and nationality, you will see they are no different as a human being. Everyone wants the same thing – respect.

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Our prayer : Prayer is a conversation with God and is an aid to help us love others. Conflicts amongst nations, parties, and factions can easily be squashed if we just pray for one another. The prayer is simple: Ask God to bless those who you are in disagreement, seek forgiveness of your thoughts toward them, and ask Him to change your heart. We don’t know what others are going through. The reason for most conflict is fear. Fear robs the sacredness of peace. Lack of peace comes in frustration, anger, rage, and unlawful acts. Fear resides in all but can be repressed. But perfect love casts out fear…whoever fears has not been perfected in love (1 John 4:18). Pray for our leaders, city officials, and residents, and most of all our children.

Our self-love: When Jesus says to love your neighbor as yourself, he is basically saying to treat others the same way as you want to be treated, give others the same respect as you are giving yourself, and pray for others as they are praying for you. Self-love literally replenishes others with love who does not exhibit their own self-love. Could it be that crime, poverty, corruption, and war sometimes exists because many are driven by fear? We can build up others with our self-love. Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

We don’t want to hear or see the disturbing images of Syria, Egypt or in any of our communities again. Why pass on these issues to the next generation? The solution to our world problems is linked to a change of heart (love). Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law (Romans 13:8).

Make it a great day!

Cedric Dukes is an internationally known author, speaker and leader.