I went to my first protest in years recently. I was the only person who showed up. Sounds sad, I know. But as I found myself on a hike upon the trails of my favorite hill, I began to ponder this world in which I live. I began to consider the headlines of the day and feeds of social media shared amongst friends, neighbors, enemies, and everyone in between. I began to examine my own response to that which has been transpiring all around me.

And that’s when it happened. I found myself smack dab in the middle of a protest between my mind and my heart. No tear gas needed for this protest. Real tears require nothing but a convicted heart, good or bad.

With this, it then dawned on me that if I wanted to change the world, then I needed to protest my own heart, first.

And this makes me think…

If love is to win this world, then love must win our own hearts first. Otherwise, we’re just a bunch of noisemakers causing more harm than good. But imagine for a moment if each of us lived in such a way that our very actions hoisted a banner on our behalf over our very selves that read, love HAS won.

For a heart that’s been secured by such love, is a life that leads forth with humility. In this, words will rarely be needed. Such love when it captures such, in turn, will have already gone up ahead of us on the road to speak on our behalf and will be seen in the clean feet of others, even that of our enemies.

To change the world, we must first seek to protest our own hearts first and be emptied of that which has caused us such hurt, pain, and sorrow. For, we cannot give what we do not have. But to forgive is to gain that which we’ve always sought.

If I give anything to the world, may it be rooted in this.

One cannot change the world for good if all that dwells within the heart is everything but love. To be love and to be peace is first to know love and to know peace.

My friend. Be loved because you are. At least, that’s what the Bible tells me so.

You matter.

Photograph by @GunnarSimonsen