Pastor Ron Burcham
It just rolled off my tongue without me giving it a second thought. It happened so fast I wasn’t sure if I should be embarrassed or horrified. Did anyone hear me? Did anyone catch what I just uttered? I had just asked my guests if they would like a….soda! SODA! What possessed me to say such a thing? I grew up in Michigan and we don’t have soda in Michigan; we have pop! I then spent over 25 years in Iowa and in Iowa we have pop! Ask for soda in either of those places and you will no doubt get a glass of club soda not the Diet Pepsi you were expecting. So why in the world did I use the “S” word?
After much thought and contemplation I believe I have deduced why I said soda. Peer pressure. In the great state of Arizona people look at you funny if you ask for a pop. Perhaps they think you have issues with your father, I am not sure. In Arizona if you want a Diet Pepsi, Coke, or Sprite, you want a soda.
Isn’t it fascinating the power friends and associates can have in our lives just by being themselves? Not once have I had a discussion on the virtues of calling it soda instead of pop. No one knocked on my door and handed me a pamphlet going into the linguistic study of soda vs. pop. In everyday life, in homes, and in restaurants it was simply called soda and it rubbed off on me.
Hey, if you are still with me in this article – thanks, because there is a point. If you want to influence society or even change the world then just live your life the way you believe the world should live. Some change the world by making speeches or ascending to positions of influence. I believe the most powerful way to change the world is through individuals. If you want to see more compassion and love in the world, then show love and compassion. If you want to see civility and respect for those who disagree with one another, then show civility and respect to all. No speeches or organized movements.
It comes down to what Jesus said; “Jesus replied:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:38-39)
The Apostle Paul had these words of wisdom;
“Live such good lives among the gentiles that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God.” (II Peter 2:12)
My point is don’t underestimate the power of consistently showing kindness, love, compassion, and every other virtue we would like to see in the world. In doing such things even those who disagree with you will be influenced.