I hate change. And it’s not just a pithy sentiment for me. I am 1000% a creature of habit. I love a good schedule. I practically eat the same breakfast every morning and know what I’ll be preparing for lunch and dinner for the family. I wear only one brand of jeans and I own Chuck Taylor’s that could legally vote. It’s just so much easier to live my life without having to change much or even address the things in my life that might need changing. And this would be completely fine…if life were that simple for everyone. But it’s not. In fact, it’s actually a bit of privilege that I can even say I hate change. I am speaking from a place of power when I ask people to keep the status quo or just be content with how things are. And I have actually taken an oppressive stance when I wish for things to be the way they used to be or for society to be great like it once was. Because truthfully, society hasn’t always been great for everyone else.
Some of you may have already tuned me out. Like me, you are comfortable. I mean, you’re not wealthy or jet-setting to the latest vacation spot, but life isn’t necessarily hard. You’ve never known hunger or homelessness. You don’t know what it’s like to walk around in black or brown skin. You’ve never been ostracized because of who you are attracted to. For you, the system works. But see, therein lies the problem. For you the system works. And so it’s hard to see injustice and oppression for others because from your point of view. The system isn’t broken and what ain’t broke, don’t need fixin’. And let’s be honest, trying to address all of the brokenness in the system would upset a whole lot of people and make a lot of folks uncomfortable. And we can’t have that.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” But sometimes it’s easier to see how the system works for us while keeping hurting our fellow humans. Hear me for a moment, because it took me a long time to understand this…this is anti-Christ. Complicity with a system that oppresses other people is anti-Christ. Jesus was once asked, what is the greatest commandment. His response was simple and yet incredibly profound, “He replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.” - Matthew 22:37-39 And I think that maybe it’s time we come to realize that to love our neighbor as ourselves might mean we have to be willing to be uncomfortable for a while so that we can see where our sisters and brothers are not comfortable.
When I was a minister I remember my uncle saying to me that the job of a minister is simple. You are to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I’ve come to see that this is also what the gospel does for us as well. Not only for our souls, but also for our way of living in the world now. The gospel, when truly lived out, comforts the afflicted while it afflicts the comfortable. So ask yourself today, Am I comfortable? Where does the system work for me while it’s broken for others? A change is gonna come, but perhaps it needs to start with me…regardless of how much I hate change.