Devotional by Dallas Willard

We make the world better by starting with ourselves

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus starts his discussion of life with a picture of the kingdom of God and the blessed life within that. And then he turns to street level and begins to look at where harm comes from in individual lives. The first thing he puts his finger on is anger and contempt (Matt. 5:21–26). If you could pull anger and contempt out of the world, you wouldn’t have an attack on the Twin Towers, or a Holocaust, or an Inquisition. Without anger and contempt, there simply isn’t the motivation to hurt people.

It’s important to remember this as we look at evil in the world and ask, “What am I going to do about it?” We each have to start with ourselves and our range of influence. We need to help others come to grips with the place of anger and desire in their lives. Anger comes from crossing someone’s will—interfering with someone’s desires. The general path of changing this, of getting rid of anger and contempt and keeping desire under control, is to surrender our will to God. That is to say, we have to turn our future, our present, and everything in our lives over to God’s care. This is the answer to the problem of evil. Even for those who have to go through cancer, losing loved ones, war, whatever it may be—the answer is surrender to the will of God.

From The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus. Copyright © 2015 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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