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Bold and unusual

Regular columnist James Knight looks for ways to make the world more heavenly.

Sometimes, out of the blue, I do bold and unusual things – things that I use to escape my own sin for a moment to make a point of how powerful Christianity is. Here's an example of what I mean.
I remember being in the Forum in Norwich with friends; and one friend, a sceptic of Christianity to say the least, was talking about what a troubled world God has created. I said something along the lines of: “Hey, the world is broken, but it’s human sin that has broken it, and each of us knows how we can make the world a better place”.
I then proceeded to show my friend what I meant. “Look how easy it is to make people smile and brighten up their day” I said as I took him for a quick tour of making people happy. For the next 20 minutes, we went on a happiness escapade, during which time I showed how much strangers smile when you stop them and compliment them: -
I showed him the happiness of a couple when you go into a restaurant and pay for their meal and tell them you just wanted to do something nice for them; I showed him how much better people feel about themselves when you go into their shop and say how lovely you think their art is or how much you admire their window display; and I showed him the joy of an elderly couple sitting in Hay Hill for whom I’d just bought an ice cream and told them I wanted them to accept it as a gift because they look like a lovely couple.
Naturally, we can't do this sort of thing every hour of the day because we’d soon run out of money. But things like compliments, kind words and thoughtful words don’t cost anything, and they are available to us at all times, whenever we like.
Next time you’re feeling down on the world, go and do some bold and unusually lovely things for complete strangers, and you’ll see how easy it is to make people happy and brighten up their day. And, of course, it will bring joy to your own day too, because you can’t pour out happiness on others without spilling a few drops on yourself too.
I think this sort of thing is a little of what Christ means when He encourages us to pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Not that we could ever reconstitute an earthly world of heavenly bliss where there is no sin or suffering, but that in our honest and heartfelt prayers we don’t find it very difficult to get a sense of what we must do to make the world better than it is.
Heaven, I suppose, won’t just be the blissful reconciliation with God - it will be a full understanding of the vast gulf between divine grace and human sin, and a more lucid understanding of how much we depend on grace in the here and now.
And it's the sense of love and grace that can motivate us to do bold and unusual acts of kindness, and make earth a little bit more heavenly in the here and now.

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James Knight is a local government officer based in Norwich, and is a regular columnist for Christian community websites Network Norfolk and Network Ipswich. He also blogs regularly as ‘The Philosophical Muser’, and contributes articles to UK think tanks The Adam Smith Institute and The Institute of Economic Affairs, as well as the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC).


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