As you know, the circumstances we have been in have been difficult and I feel like they were means of change in our life. I’ve thought a lot about this lately: circumstances and how people respond to them and what that all means about humanity, life, and God (pretty lofty, I know).
Everyone goes through difficult times in life. Some people come out the other end changed for the better, others come out the other end destroyed, and still others come out the other end stubbornly the same. So, why is it that people respond differently to these circumstances? Well, I’m sure a big part of it has to do with that person’s history, personality, and other things that make that person unique, but I think another, and maybe more important reason is that changes are brought about by God’s work in the heart. Circumstances DON’T change us: God changes us, and sometimes he uses trials and difficult times in the process, but he is always the one driving the change in our hearts.
A friend has been sharing with me about his life and walk with God. Some of the things he thinks about God I don’t entirely(or even remotely) agree with. So, what do I do? More importantly, what does this have to do with anything I just said?
I read a great post this morning from Alan Knox titled Grace to be Wrong. Among many of the great things he talks about in that post, one main thing is that we can’t change people; only God can change people. He talks about Philippians 3:15 which says:
“Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.”
as in when we “think otherwise” (or are wrong) God will show us the truth. God will do that work, God will change our hearts and minds. He goes on to emphasize this point later in the post by saying:
I have had teachers who taught really great things about God, but the teachers did not change me. I have read books that explained God and his ways, but the books did not change me. I’ve been in relationships with people who followed God, but even those relationships did not change me. God changed me – and he is continuing to change me.
You follow my logic now? Circumstances don’t change people; We can’t change people: ONLY GOD CAN CHANGE PEOPLE.
So when going through a difficult time we should trust God to work in us and the people involved, and when we disagree with someone we should trust God to work in that person’s (and our own) heart to see the truth and change to conform to that truth.