There is a mean-spiritedness prevalent in our society today and we need to counter it as Christians in the marketplace. Donald Trump’s success is not because of Donald Trump, it’s because his message and bullish attitude has connected with a large number of people who are not happy with the way things are and feel powerless to do anything about it. That now-famous line from the movie Network seems to capture a widespread sentiment among many people who feel threatened by terrorism, immigration and the huge cultural changes that are shifting away from white control to a multicultural, multiracial reality: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” Well, welcome to the new world. You can throw your window open, stick your neck out and yell that to your heart’s content, but it’s not going to change anything. The forces of change are already in motion. We’re not going to go back to a simpler time — to the way things used to be. We need to adjust to a changing world, and reflect a different attitude from the prevailing “kick some butt” approach.
First, we need to cultivate an overall graciousness whenever we are operating in the public square, which would include being at work or just being out and about meeting people and engaging with the public in any way. We need to be kind and accepting towards those who are different from us. We need to be understanding and give people the chance to express themselves. We need to be calm and not shout others down. We’re not trying to win anything or get anything back; we’re trying to learn to live together with those who are different.
Second, we need to cultivate compassion — not only caring for the needs of the disabled or the less fortunate because their needs are often so obvious, but for everyone. A large part of compassion is empathy. That would be an ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and see the world from their point of view, or feel their pain, know their fear, or experience their helplessness.
And finally, we need to cultivate an overall attitude of respect for every human being no matter who they are or what they represent. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. Our enemy is the evil one, and when we make people or groups of people our enemies we are playing right into his hand. Learn to see the image of God in everyone. It’s there. We’re just not looking hard enough.
Think of what it took for you to know Christ and experience His love and forgiveness. Think of what a scoundrel you are and how He loves you anyway. Realize there would be no hope for you were it not for God’s grace in your life in giving you what you don’t deserve. Now give that same grace out to everyone you meet because that’s what God does. Do this and you will be a champion of grace turned outward, and grace turned outward is not only what every person in the world needs, it’s what society needs as well. Do this and you will be an agent for good in the world. You will be giving the world just what it needs.