For some reason the words to What the World Needs Now has been stuck in my head lately. “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.”
Faith, hope, love – it’s true, we all need these things, but some of the most sorely needed elements in modern society today are some of the most gloriously underrated. In fact, if you were to try and put together the top five things the world needs, other than peace, they may not even make your list.
I submit to you a short list of the top five things I’d like to submit that the world needs now. Starting with:
In a world full of road rage, sarcasm, online opinions, individualism and righteous indignation, kindness is a rare virtue.
The internet can be a hateful place. It is not our example. Nor are the snarky sitcom comments that bring laughs at the expense of someone’s humiliation. Or bullying. Or fat-shaming. Or thin-shaming. Or mom-shaming. Or any kind of shaming. The world we’ve created for ourselves in 2015 can be full of impatience, judgment and even cruelty.
What if our first instinct when we encountered a difficult person was kindness, not indignation? In Disney’s 2015 Cinderella, Lily James’s magical mantra is “Have courage, and be kind.”
I’ve never heard truer words spoken from a Disney princess.
To put it another way: Be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a hard battle.
One of the first things we teach our children is often one of the last things we practice as an adult – a simple respect for other people.
In some countries, there is a premium placed on respect for others. In North America, there’s a huge premium placed on “me, myself and I.” We are becoming a world of little emperors where my world is all about me and my opinions. A lack of respect for people online, in the office, at the grocery store, on airplanes – neighbors, strangers….it doesn’t matter.
A lack of respect for parents, teachers, employers, government leaders and law enforcement. America could take a lesson from some Middle Eastern and Asian countries in manners and a pre-established respect for others.
In a world where we are exposed in proximity to more people than ever and a cyber-community where words live forever, is it any wonder that forgiveness is constantly the order of the day? Especially in a world with respect and kindness threatening to go extinct.
Friends can wound us deep. Family members even deeper. The art – no, practiced skill – of forgiveness does not come naturally, even among the believers. “Forgive others as you would have them forgive you.”
So much harder than it sounds.
The wise among us in 2015 have learned to exercise forgiveness over and over.
The truly wise, not to take offense in the first place.
In a world of individualism, where achievements and accomplishments and uniqueness are prized, “pride” becomes the fuel by which everything operates – even Christians. Pride over one’s kids, one’s job, one’s church, one’s moral superiority, wisdom, influence…it goes on and on.
How many human arguments come down to not facts, but pride?
If everyone in the world just practiced 25% more humility, what a wonderful world it would be.
Oh, not what you were expecting? That’s right – the world needs more community. People were never meant to operate outside it. As families get smaller and smaller and more spread out, support systems get weaker, accountability more scarce.
We’ve become more “connected” in the 21st century, yet suicide, loneliness and depression continue to rise. Like it or not, we all need community – in a world where social media has made it both easier and harder to have real fellowship. It’s now easier than ever to have 1,000 “friends” on Facebook and be lonely on the weekends.
Workplaces with a sense of community perform better. And like it or not, we are all responsible for our community – our neighbors, our countrymen – as inhabitants of earth, we are all in this life together.
So go out and make your community a better place…with these five simple things the world needs now.