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Resolving issues in our world with a heart change

There are many troubling issues worldwide and in our communities: high unemployment rates, poverty, crime, corruption and failing cities. Experts claim 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 responses 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.

The heart changes the attitudes, beliefs  and perception of a person and its surroundings. A heart change is motivated by love. A heart change results in respect for 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 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 hearts.  We can and should seek peace with our differences among each other. Jesus said two things to his opposition — to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Heeding his advice would have eliminated conflicts. 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 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.

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 to disagree; but we can disagree respectfully without degrading one another. Respecting others who are not leaders is just as crucial. 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 religiously, racially, socioeconomically and of a different nationality; you will see they are no different as a human being. Everyone wants the same thing — respect.

Prayer is a conversation with God and is an aid to help us love others.  Conflicts among nations, parties and factions can easily be squashed if we just pray for one another. The prayer is simple: ask God to bless those with whom you disagree, seek forgiveness of your thoughts toward them, and ask God 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.

When Jesus says to love your neighbor as yourself, he is basically saying to treat others the same way  you want to be treated, give others the same respect 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.

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.

Cedric Dukes

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