The Path to Social Change: Love and Service

I’ve been thinking a lot of about what it means to be social, which has led me to wondering how being social, on and offline, can change communities through the establishment and maintenance of healthy relationships.

I was struck by the words and wisdom regarding love and service in Cornel West’s book, Hope On A Tightrope:

“When we dare to love and serve, we will be willing to speak, act, dialogue, write, fuse, share, laugh, and love with others whom we can inspire and who can inspire us. There’s never any guarantee of victory in history. There never has been, there never will be. Nevertheless, if we can commit to loving, serving, and understanding each other–recognizing that we are far more alike than we are different–we have chance.”

Look at that. Right there, embedded in a message of hope, is a clear call to action for each and everyone of us:

  1. Dare to love and serve: Get past yourself, your own issues, your own problems, and care about what is happening to other people.
  2. Be willing to engage: According to West, we need “to speak, act, dialogue, write, fuse, share, laugh and love with others” for the purpose of inspiring each one another.
  3. Through the good and the bad times, commit to developing and maintaining healthy relationships: Life has a way of being messy when we realize that we are all messed up and have issues. It is easy to run away from problems or to pretend they don’t exist, that is not being social and that is not being committed to loving and serving others.

I am challenged to re-examine what it means to love and serve others. I like to think that I care and that I bend over backwards to take care of the people that I love, but what about the people I don’t particularly like, or even hate? Am I finding ways to foster an attitude of love and service towards them? That takes me back to point #1 of West, “Dare to love and serve.” It is daring, risky and painful to love and serve the people we hate.

How daring are you?

Are you playing it safe?

“There’s never any guarantee of victory in history,” so what do you have to lose?