I REALLY wish my wife was not such a pack rat! She has the amazing ability to fill every closet, drawer, shelf, and minuscule corner in our house with stuff. Sometimes its ok, and sometimes its absolutely head scratching (such as her notes from 7th GRADE science class!). She once found an ATM from our first date about 12 years after it happened, not because she was sentimental, but because she simply had a pile of 12 year old receipts. After 17 years of marriage I’ve come to the conclusion that her pack rat habits are not likely to change anytime soon, which I can deal with. There are MUCH worse habits she could have! Still, sometimes people in our lives need to make necessary changes to follow God’s path and experience His grace.
There are always going to be things about other people that we don’t like and would love to see change. There are also plenty of things we desperately want, perhaps even need, to change: an illness/disability, an addiction, an especially strained relationship, etc. When we desire change in others we have two main options. First, we can come to the conclusion I have with my wife’s hoarding and simply decide its not worth the fight. Sometimes, however, there are things that people in our lives really do need to change (i.e. an addiction, needing Jesus, etc.). In those cases we can’t have an attitude of “well, maybe someday.” Instead, we should seek to partner with God in helping make change happen. We see this in the following scripture:
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:1-5
These four men looked at the situation of their paralyzed friend and decided that something needed to change. So, they did the hard work of carrying him, digging through a roof, and lowering him to Jesus. They did the hard work of getting him to Jesus, and then trusted Jesus with the result. To often, I feel, we don’t do that. We far too quickly believe people cannot change. We need to be more like the friends in this passage. When people in our lives need to change, WE need to help them. WE need to pray for them, show them love, take action to help them, and show patience towards them. Because, the thing is, God wants to change them for the better! Not only that, God has the power to change them. We need to do the work we can to make them better, and then trust God with the result. Let’s do the hard work of getting people in our lives to Jesus, and watch Him do make changes in their lives.