Sometimes we get caught in the moment, in the issue, in the statistic. Sometimes we find ourselves obsessed with the minutiae, the little things that seem huge. Sometimes our attention is taken by what is urgent and loud and scary. Sometimes. Then we have to stop, take a deep breath and remember that there is a bigger picture.
Yes, the problem is huge. Yes, the moment is scary. Yes, the message is broken. Yes, the system is flawed. Yes. Yes. Yes! And you may be right. How right you are doesn’t actually matter. Because there is a bigger picture.
When I lose my big picture, then the rest of it all takes a place it can’t occupy. See, Jesus said pray for your enemies. Then he said to love your enemies. Then he said to do good to those who treat you poorly. Then he said love others the way I love you. Then he died in place of every flawed human. The message is pretty clear. Everybody. No exceptions. Pray, love, do good. That’s our role and our purpose and our mandate.
The bigger picture is the lens through which we judge our success. The standard by which I judge my actions. Am I loving? Am I praying? Am I doing good? Is my today mission lining up with His forever mission?
Don’t use this as an excuse to sit this one out. Don’t twist my words to say that advocacy and passion and fighting for what is true and just isn’t important. No! It’s just not the biggest picture. When I focus on my own responsibility to love others, do good, pray for those I don’t like, engage rather than attack, I keep sight of my own flawed humanity. And in humility, I can accomplish so much more.
You are human. I am too. And we need each other. We don’t have to agree. But we need each other. We don’t have to be friends. But we need each other. And we are all very, very, very broken. And our systems and institutions and cultures are broken because they are created by broken people just like us.
So, I don’t get to excuse my own hate, my own bad acts. I don’t have a free pass on the big picture. I’m not excused by my cultural climate, political climate, home climate, or work climate from following Christ’s example and loving the world the way that He loves me. No. There is a bigger picture. And that picture demands that I fit every agenda, every hurt, every offense, every project, every passion, every protest, every moment of my existence into a very simple test. Am I loving? Am I praying? Am I doing good?
The big picture demands I am always the bigger person. Not bigger than you or them or her or him. No, bigger than who I used to be. And if I focus on that, I will have strength and clarity and peace as I fight through the rest. Because in the big picture, I will only truly answer for me.