11 Small Ways You Can Help Mend the World

But historically and scripturally, Sabbath keeping isn’t simply luxuriating in privilege for a day. Instead, it involves ensuring that others can rest as well. We seek as best we can to allow those who work for us or around us to also embrace both meaningful work and rest. “The Bible’s sabbath,” wrote the Old Testament professor Richard H. Lowery, critiques “the economic systems that create scarcity, overwork, and gross economic inequality.”

9. Make a steel man of others’ arguments. Making a straw man of our opponents’ arguments is easy. We portray them as ridiculous or as moral monsters, but dealing with steel men — that is, the best and smartest ideas of those with whom we disagree — not only strengthens our own thinking but helps us to better and more compassionately understand others. Straw manning is an easy way to get likes online, but it ultimately hurts us as individuals and as a society. Choosing to seek out the best arguments of those with whom we disagree requires humility and curiosity, and it makes for healthier societal discourse.

10. Practice patience. With our increasingly fast-paced world, nearly everything about our society encourages impatience. We prize efficiency and speed, and are losing the ability to wait patiently. But we can practice resistance.

Some brass-tacks ways to do so are to let yourself be still and slow. Wait in a line or at a stoplight without checking your phone. Make friends with boredom and the things you can’t control. In the words of the philosopher Dallas Willard, commit yourself to the “ruthless elimination of hurry.” Many of these other practices — from spending time with children to reading books and working for institutional change — demand and foster patience.

“Patience outfits faith, guides peace, assists love, equips humility, waits for penitence, seals confession, keeps the flesh in check, preserves the spirit, bridles the tongue, restrains the hands, tramples temptation underfoot, removes what causes us to stumble,” writes the historian Robert Louis Wilken. “It lightens the care of the poor, teaches moderation to the rich, lifts the burdens of the sick, delights the believer, welcomes the unbeliever.” He concludes, “For where God is there is his progeny, patience. When God’s Spirit descends patience is always at his side.”

11. Pray. Because prayer and work go together. And because, ultimately, true renewal requires more than we can do on our own.


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