The Good, the Bad, and the Not-So-Ugly
Gandhi first changed himself - his awareness, his reaction, his behavior - and then non-violently brought attention to the harmful actions of others. In doing so he changed the world.
He wasn't perfect. He did not end all suffering, and he had many critics, but he tried to make a difference and history records his efforts.
No one but God has a full understanding of suffering, why it exists. The best theologians can only offer the theory this world is flawed, and suffering is the result. In his book, The Naked Now, Richard Rohr offers a simplistic definition of suffering: when ever you are not in control.
Criticising, worrying and stressing give the false illusion of control. What if we changed all that? Imagine the ripple effect if each of us gave up the desire to control another's behavior by criticism, legislation or violence, and changed ourselves: our view point, our priorities, our need to be right? Scripture states we need to remove the beam in our eyes before we consider the splinter in our neighbor's eye.
I realize much of my desire for control stems from ego, as mentioned in an earlier post, Ego. I have worked to let go of the need to be right, tried not to be judgemental, and I found more joy and less worry. I see more of God's blessings and tend to reach out to others without the need, or desire, to judge if they are worthy of that love. I still fail, catching myself being judgmental, arguing a point to prove I'm right, but with effort and persistence I will change my mental attitude and behavior, one thought, one act at a time.
Letting go of judgment and control, I am more inclined to trust God for everything - trust Him to lead others on the right path - His idea of right, not mine.
It is freeing. I do not spend my quiet time chastising myself or re-counting the wrong deeds of others. I do not dwell on some future time when everything will be idyllic (in my mind) - and as a result I am happier than I can ever remember being in my life. The uncertainties of my future, the faults of myself and my neighbor (trust me there are plenty of issues if I chose to revert to negative reflection) no longer dictate my thoughts, actions and emotions. Instead I remember the words: nothing is impossible for God, with one key difference. I stand back and allow God to decide which impossibility will be possible.