Take a moment and look at our world. What do you see? War? Terrorism? Slavery? Chaos? Now look closer. Look out your window right across the street. Notice anything? Things have changed and no longer can we deny it.
This Is Our Reality
- poverty effects 45.3 million people in North America (1) and more than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty worldwide (2)
- 36% of murders take place in the Americas, followed by 31% in Africa (3)
- human sex trafficking is the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world (4)
- there are 8.76 million prescription medicine abusers in the United States (5)
- child abuse victims are due to the following: 78.3% neglect, 18.3% physically abuse, 9.3% sexually abuse, and 8.5% psychologically maltreated. (6)
- approximately 1% of the U.S. population experiences homelessness each year (7)
- 4 million women annually are victims of physical assault and rape by an intimate partner (8)
While these numbers go up and down, they do not go away. Ever. Each one of these statistics is just a glimpse of the thousand other issues that our communities face.
“But what can I do, I’m just one person?”
We get it. The problems are big and overwhelming. Trying to figure out where to start can be enough to discourage actual action. This is why Restore Our City was created. We want to aid communication within our culture, offer legitimate solutions for any community, and truly bring about a restoration to our world. To effect change on a global scale we are targeting cities and towns for the purpose of influencing one home at a time. We want our neighborhoods thriving and believe this can be accomplished through a unified people.
Electing politicians and being involved in local government is a great step towards change, but it won’t last. Creating art to share beauty and influence wonder is ideal, but it will be forgotten. Meeting neighbors and spending time in our communities weekly is fundamental, but it won’t be enough.
Time For A Change
If we are honest with ourselves we will acknowledge that many people in our communities are approaching danger. Whether it be children suffering in a broken home, a teenager contemplating suicide, or a married couple suffocated by their finances; without a real change they are all on a path to their own destruction. Perhaps your story is not too different?
The only solution for them, for you, for any of us is a heart change. Heart change produces true, long-lasting results. Violence? Heart change creates kindness. Greed? Heart change gives way to generosity. Perversion? Heart change produces purity.
You can attempt to avoid the truth. You can attempt to try to fix your heart by reading all the self-help books, serving those less fortunate, or practicing every religious tradition; none of it will matter because everyone of our hearts remain cursed.
A Cursed Heart
Whether we want to hear it or not, we are not the good people we believe we are. Each one of us carries a curse that stains our soul. That curse is sin. Sin is something we do not talk about too often, so the term might not mean much to you, but sin is the violation of God’s will. Each one of us is guilty of it because we violate God’s will all the time.
When we talk about violating God’s will we are referring to His law. While man often manipulates law for his own benefit, God’s purpose for the law is to act as a perfect standard for our lives. When you measure your life against this standard you quickly realize how much you lack. We are not perfect, no matter how hard we wish or try. God’s standard also goes beyond our actions, revealing the depravity of our sin cursed heart. That secret thought of hate, lust, or pride that you hide in your heart? He knows it all.
Knowing it all, He still loves us, but there is a problem. Our violation of God’s law carries a penalty just as any other broken law does. You might be wondering how God can love us and at the same time penalize us for not being perfect. Can you imagine another person hurting your family, getting caught, going to court, and then being told by the judge they are free to leave because their offense was not that bad? It does not work that way in a courtroom, nor does it with God. If you violate His will, you are guilty.
The Rescue: Real Heart Change
God knew that our end goal would only be for ourselves, that we would pick our ways over His time and time again. He knew that we would pursue violence, greed, and perversion over His holy, just, and righteous ways.
Each one of us stands guilty. While the judge of the world is justified to sentence us for our crimes, He has shown us mercy and allowed another to pay the price for our violation of His will. God, the Father, lovingly sent His only Son Jesus to satisfy the judgment that is due to all mankind. While many accept Jesus’ teaching as a good idea or value him as a prophet of God, Jesus Christ is so much more. The most important one? Jesus is God.
Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, over 2000 years ago stepped down from his throne and entered human history. He lived a sinless life (something you and I cannot do, no matter how hard we try), revealed the love of God to mankind, and taught us about His great desire to have relationship with us. Jesus’ love for humankind was demonstrated in His death for our sins past, present, and future. He took the punishment we deserve. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, “Jesus is Lord,” you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.
What is your response?
We need every heart changed individual working in unity.
(1) United States Census Bureau “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 – Highlights” http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/2013/highlights.html
(2) Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats.” Global Issues. http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats
(3) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime “Global Study on Homicide 2013” https://www.unodc.org/documents/gsh/pdfs/Chapter_1.pdf
(4) Federal Bureau of Investigation “Human Sex Trafficking” http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march_2011/human_sex_trafficking
(5) National Institute on Drug Abuse “Popping Pills: Prescription Drug Abuse in America” http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/popping-pills-prescription-drug-abuse-in-america
(6) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-research/child-maltreatment
(7) National Coalition for the Homeless. “How Many People Experience Homelessness?” Accessed September 25, 2014 http://nationalhomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/How_Many-Fact-Sheet.pdf
(8) Safe Horizon “Domestic Violence: Statistics & Facts” http://www.safehorizon.org/page/domestic-violence-statistics–facts-52.html