I listened for what seemed like the hundredth time to her biting comments. She couched them in what appeared to be truth, but it was really only what truth looked like through her own myopic lens. She had tunnel vision and only wanted to see what she wanted to see. She had been hurt and it was understandable, this stubborn grip she maintained on the faults of others. But, it was wearing to me. And, it was damaging her witness. I half-listened, half lifted her heaven-ward, waiting for the verbal storm to pass. My thought-prayer went something like, “Lord, do you hear this? Do you see this? I’m tired of this ranting, tired of feeling offended for another and wanting to defend instead of love. Why is she always like this? Can’t you just release me from this situation? She’s never going to let this go! I’m never going to get through to her…”
And the conviction was swift and immediate: Never going to change? Never? Are you giving up so easily? Do you not believe that I, who made every good change in your heart, can also bring change to her? Don’t you believe that My love through you can and will matter?
(Gulp–me, swallowing my pride) I need to believe that everyone–no matter how hard-hearted–can change. I need to believe that because it was (and still is) true for me. I am not the same person I was before Christ. I am different because He loves me. He accepts me. He wants me. He has purpose for me. He wants better for me.
People can change.
People have changed.
People will change.
We, as believers, must cling to that truth. It is possible to become a new creature, to develop good habits, to be better husbands, wives, friends, neighbors, co-workers. It’s possible to be a better parent, to be a better pastor, to be a better Bible teacher, to serve God more devotedly. It’s possible to overcome life-consuming sin. It’s possible to stop being a gossip, a liar, a thief. It’s possible to attain wisdom, to become gentle, to speak the truth–lovingly. All things are possible…
This is change we really, really CAN believe in. In fact, we cannot believe this to be true of ourselves without also believing it to be true of others. We cannot allow ourselves to categorize and compartmentalize others. Our relationship with Christ is fluid–He never changes, but, we do. We have this tremendous opportunity to be molded daily into a better representation of Christ, of agape love.
I’m so challenged by this. Convicted. And hopeful. I can change the way I see others. I can believe the best about them, while still knowing the worst. Because Jesus knows the worst about me and still believes the best.
Father, thank You for believing the best about us all. Thank You for correcting me. Help me to see the good in others. Help me to believe that we can all change, that we can all be more like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.