Summary: This is a brief message given at an inner-city ministry called Bridges, which focuses on helping adults living with poverty to develop the soft skills they need to succeed in life.
People love giving advice. “Oh, you’re going out with so-and-so? Well let me tell you what you should be careful about“.
“Oh, you just got a new phone. Let me tell you this or tell you that“.
“Oh you voteed Liberal...or conservative...or NDP. Well let me tell you about what’s bad about who you voted for”.
People love giving advice. People are full of opinions about the government, about relationships, about religion, about sex…You name it. People are full of… Advice.
But I often wonder, when I hear people offering unsolicited advice or opinions, what’s going on in your own life?
And more often than not, I’ve discovered that people who have a cure for every one else’s problems, often find their own lives, if they’re honest, in chaos.
That’s kind of the norm. More than a few centuries ago, Jesus once said, and “make sure you remove the log from your own eye before you try to remove the speck of dust from your brothers or sisters eye”.
So we’re good at judging others, we’re good at giving helpful words of wisdom to others who we feel are not thinking or behaving properly, but sometimes were not so great at judging ourselves. We’re not particularly helpful to ourselves.
But what would happen if instead of focusing our energy on trying to fix other people, we spent that energy trying to fix ourselves.
I think the truth is that the best way we can help others, the best way we can “lead the way” for others is to work on ourselves.
And all of you who are part of bridges are, by your involvement, showing your interest in working on yourselves. Developing your self-esteem. Growing spiritually.
Dealing with your addictions. Figuring out healthy boundaries. I’ll kinds of other things that you are doing and learning in order to bring about change in your own life.
And the truth is, as much as you are doing that to improve your own lives, what you may or may not be aware of is the fact that you were also leading the way for others.
It’s been said that the way to fix society is to fix ourselves. The way to enable us to be able to contribute positively to society around us, to others around us, to our friends around us, is to take ourselves seriously and work on improving our own internal world.
How many of you have taken our courses at Bridges called: You may have noticed that we do not run Courses at Bridges on “How to win the lottery“. “How to make millions by flipping property”. How to triple your investment in your Apple stocks”.
There probably is a reason that we don’t run courses like that. First of all, none of you have ever asked for such courses. And the course we do we do as a result of listening to you.
Secondly, those topics are external. We, at Bridges, focus on our internal world. We focus on how to change the way we think about ourselves.
We focus on how to improve the way we interact with other people. We learn how to not be taken advantage of.
We learn how and why we should have good self-esteem.
And you know what we’re doing together by learning these things? We are learning how to lead the way.
We are learning how to lead the way, first in our own lives; and then we are learning how to lead the way for others.
If you have been taking Bridges courses this year, I guarantee that among your friends who are not doing anything to improve their lives, you stand out as a person who is different.
You stand out as a person who is getting their lives on track.
Now they might not say that to you. In fact, people often react with some jealousy when they see one of their friends changing their life, changing their lifestyle.
But even if people are feeling jealous, or maybe they’re just admiring the fact that you are engaged in this great journey that we call cop bridges, you, by your involvement, are leading the way.
So I want to encourage you to keep leading. Keep being the lead actor in your own life.
Keep being the director of your own story. Keep building toward the best future you can imagine.
And if you have not yet come to a place of seeing just how much God loves you and how much “for you“ God is, how much power God gives you to change, I encourage you to open yourself to that reality.
If you have come to the place in your life or you trust in God, where you place your hope in Jesus Christ, and where you were walking in the way of Jesus, you know just how much God loves you, how much God is for you, how much God truly Is giving you the power to change.