News and Articles
19 August 2020
In this second part of his series on “causes and values”, Matt Bunday examines invites us to consider how to apply our values in our everyday lives. If you missed the first part, Matt looked at the the question, "What are values?".
We unfortunately don’t need to look very far to see the suffering in society today, but there are also many humbling examples of people campaigning for their values and causes. Individuals who have found their true voice and realised that enough is enough, sometimes risking their own safety and dignity. Throughout history, Christians have made big changes to the social norm, with obvious examples being William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect, and Florence Nightingale. These have not just been coincidences!
Finding your cause can be a soul-searching endeavour and there are plenty of options. Whether it be voting reform, feminism, poverty, loneliness or climate change, most people have something they are passionate about, and through thought and prayer you can find out what God is calling you to take on.
The next stage could be saying, “Yes” to God, but when you do he can take you on a journey that completely opens up your life to new possibilities. When I said, “Yes” to God about getting more involved in politics in 2017, my values, attitude and understanding of the world started to change significantly. Since that point I have been threatened, I have been called corrupt, however I have a sense of belief that my cause is just and have also experienced some amazing things.
Acting on your cause can often start small and is obviously influenced by your frontline. It might be something fairly simple like standing up for others in the classroom or workplace, but God uses all of our battles and the little things do matter. The protester at the recent Black Lives Matter march physically carrying away an injured rival protester because his safety was more important than their differences comes to mind here. A single, powerful act of compassion such as this is a concrete step in healing any division.
It is important that you commit to your cause consistently. Don’t criticise politicians on social media and then spoil your ballot paper in elections. Try to avoid publicly criticising how some in society appear to care little about climate change and then take no steps yourself. These changes may not be easy, but consistency is important and leading by example is godly.
Don’t let your passion for the argument blind you to the other side – revisit your views regularly. Freedom of Speech means respecting those with wildly different views to yours. I personally struggle with this at times but then I ponder how my life might have been had I grown up in different surroundings. Always remember that political views can be hugely influenced by our circumstances and wider social influences.
Taking action may feel very uncomfortable at times, but if done in the right way it can have great effect. Peaceful protesting is not illegal, calling truth to power is not unchristian and challenging someone’s misleading comments is not antisocial. Words, facts and actions DO matter and cannot just be called ‘fake news’ for political convenience. Don’t leave it to others to call out!
You may not think that you can make a difference, but God is perfectly aligning your skills and experience with the cause that you have found and you may just be the missing link to an inspiring step change. Don’t join the cause and stay silent, engage with the process and bring your skills to the table.
Let’s also not forget that there are many causes that will need our help in the future. A post-pandemic UK, which may have just left the EU without a deal and is in recession, may create huge social challenges for many. At times your cause won’t be glamorous, but by acting on the values that God has placed on your heart you will be enriched with the knowledge of knowing that you are helping society in some way, and from experience I can say that there isn’t much that beats this feeling!
To finish, there is no dispute here that laws and social contracts aren’t hugely important, as they obviously are. However, I would argue that any example of true positive change within society throughout history has started with an idea in the back of someone’s mind and was a seed that God sowed. There are many examples of Christians delivering big change, so why not see what happens when you let God open your heart to the cause that you were meant to champion!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)
Photo credit: Red Robin Photography