A rebel is someone without a cause.
(Yup, that pun was intended). A rebel is someone who is frustrated by their life. Someone who thinks they are stifled by their current systems, rules, and regulations. Rebels shout a lot, go against the system in an effort to stand out, and pierce things. Rebels are just loud, eclectic critics. And, most rebels eventually fall back in line. They get tired of bucking the system, tired of the conflict, and they begin following the rules again. People get tired of their complaining, their cries for attention, and their often selfish attitudes. A rebel has a short shelf life. People watch rebels, but they won’t follow them.
A revolutionary is someone that sees something different. Someone who isn’t just stifled by the current system, but doesn’t understand the whole world view of the current system. A revolutionary is someone who offers something new…not just sees something different. A revolutionary sees past what’s missing, and what’s broken, to what is possible. Where rebels can only point out their frustrations, revolutionaries can re-define and re-create systems, organizations, and cultures. People don’t just listen to revolutionaries…they follow them.
Most supposed revolutionaries are nothing more than rebels. Some rebels are actually revolutionaries. But that doesn’t matter…because, actually, we need both. We need the rebels to point out what’s broken…to cause us to ask the question, “why?” If we’re honest, most of us struggle with articulating the answer to that question. We revert back to our “we’ve always done it that way” and “because that’s what God says” arguments…which just cause the rebels to shout louder. We need revolutionaries to answer the “why” with a totally new worldview. We need them to look beyond our current realities and call us to something more substantial, more influential, even more provocative.
It’s a shame that the people we need the most are often times the people we dismiss the quickest.