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Change yourself before trying to change world

Each new year celebration teases us with the hope that as the calendar changes from one A.D. to the next, we will somehow be "Harry Pottered" into some miraculous transformation.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that really only happens in the movies; and then sometimes not very well.

For change to happen, it requires the work of the individual, applying oneself to the fullest of personal potential and never succumbing to failure or victimization. All substantive change also begins with a state of dissatisfaction with one's current circumstances. For those of you currently satisfied with things as they are, stop reading here.

However, if you want to change your life, your community and your nation, daringly read on.

The personal, like communal, prescription for change begins with an honest assessment of self. "Where are you- " God asked Adam this in the Garden of Eden.

Simply ask yourself where you are as opposed to where you desire to be. You need not be a rocket scientist to ascertain your own status. If you had a dream, the question is, have you achieved your dream- Do you still desire to become that of which you dream-

In addition, personal transformation requires dedicated energy toward changing behaviors and habits that lead to self-destructive outcomes.

For example, if your romantic attraction leans toward people who are selfish, immature and practice self-destructive behaviors themselves, then it is certainly time to assess why you like nuts.

Men who like women who do not love themselves will find it difficult to sustain peace and women whose attraction is for men who are abusive morons will lead to multiplied unhappiness in the new year and likely for years to come.

In essence, place a high premium on yourself; life is short.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the importance of spiritual transformation in the personal assessment for change. I realize all are not Christians or even religious in any manner. However, loving one's neighbor as oneself works as a maxim for life regardless of your feelings about religion.

For those of us who believe, it is important to draw wisdom from God and more importantly, apply that wisdom to life. Those who live by their own common sense often find themselves wandering, but those who walk by faith never lack direction.

Once the lights come on and you see real positive and measureable change occurring in your life, it is time to get about the business of changing the world around you. With your newfound exuberance you will realize that there are just some things you no longer must accept as normative ways of life.

For example, bad government should be high on your resolution list under the "Things I Will No Longer Tolerate" section.

When personal change really occurs, one begins to see things differently. In fact, those who govern most of Lake County do not even want you to read this for fear that you will awaken from your more than 40-year slumber and require a margin call on their failure to do their jobs.

They do not want you to wake up to the fact that they underserve you at nearly every level of government, from national to local. Our so-called leaders whine and moan about how hard their jobs are since they lobotomized basic life principles for success from the political spectrum.

For example, we moan about high unemployment but then enact national and local laws bent on making it tougher for businesses to exist. Unions, lobbyists and special-interests collar politicians and tie them to a pole in their front yard. Is it even possible to get elected to an office in Lake County and tell the unions the truth that we are likely the most business "unfriendly" county in the state-

For years we counted upon the federal government to open the door to employment. But now that the money is gone, I suppose city government will no longer be a leading employment option for the politically connected. Do fries come with this shake-

Finally, the change needed also means taking control of our destiny both personal and communal. We must rebuild the idea of family. Children left to fend for themselves only breed more of the same destructive memes that already inundate the cultural and social landscape of urban America. For every single parent success story are countless thousands that simply add to the ills already present. Love must mean more than a physical thrill; it must be a commitment to share in the boundless opportunities for growth.

Like most medicine in my day, this doesn't taste good. I have the belief that if taken, though, it will be good for us all.

Raymond C. Dix Jr. is senior pastor of Berean Fellowship Church, Gary.



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