This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Leading into the common good: What gives me hope in a chaotic world?

Londen Wheeler was a senior at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, when he gave this speech at the 2016 conference, Leading into the common good: An Anabaptist Perspective. We will be publishing additional speeches from college students reflecting on Anabaptist identity and leadership later this month. Photo by Jonathan Bush. 

I was struggling with this topic at first, but then I looked in the mirror and asked myself the question, “What gives me hope in a chaotic world”?

I had to actually stop what I was doing at that moment and think more about that question. Our world is still faced with unashamed racism, community turmoil, war, poverty, and a billionaire real estate mogul as the US presidential GOP front runner. Being a young black male in a society where the Black Lives Matter movement is not widely embraced, or understood, adds to the chaos in our world, and most of all in my world.

I was a two-year-old in the car with my dad when he was stopped because of the vehicle he was driving and the police put his bright shining flashlight in my face. Having that same situation happen to me 19 years later provides proof that our chaotic world still exists.

So, “What gives me hope in a chaotic world?” Love. Love is the foundation for my hope in a chaotic world.

What is love? The New Oxford American Dictionary defines love as “an intense feeling or affection.” On my iPad, I have a Spanish dictionary installed and the Spanish dictionary defined “love” in three simple words: “God is love.”

That really spoke to me, because God is the ultimate witness for the definition of love by showing us love, grace and mercy and forgiveness for during our chaotic situations. If we are to be true believers of God then we should be able to love and love unconditionally.

“What gives me hope in a chaotic world?” I say it again, love, which can provide compassion and give us the opportunity to acknowledge faults, but also allow forgiveness for our human imperfections.

Love allows me to care for my biological family, as well as my non-biological brothers and sisters. Love allows me to see a chaotic world as peaceful, because I know God has the whole wide world in his hands and others like me also believe love will conquer hate. Love blinds me from seeing color, it blinds me from seeing race, and it blinds me from seeing a person’s physical imperfections.

Love allows me to see the person and the good in them, even when they do not see it in themselves.

My charge for you today: Turn around and hug somebody, tell them God loves you and so do I and there is not a thing you can do about it. Hopefully this gesture of love will continue when you leave this place and will provide somebody else the hope they need to survive in this chaotic world.

Anabaptist World

Anabaptist World Inc. (AW) is an independent journalistic ministry serving the global Anabaptist movement. We seek to inform, inspire and Read More

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