Change Yourself

People can be challenging to deal with. They can be obnoxious, unpleasant, and hateful. They can have irritating, even disgusting habits. Their mannerisms can be annoying. Very often, we can choose to stay away from the people whom we dislike, but sometimes we cannot because they are in our workplaces, are part of our social network, or worst of all, in our homes because, for some strange reason, we end up marrying some of these "terrible" people! 

So, what do we do? We try to change them, don't we? And how has that worked out? Very poorly, I imagine! As you have undoubtedly noticed, no amount of nagging is going to stop your husband from lounging about in his boxers, guzzling beer, or preventing your teenage child from strewing clothes across the bedroom floor! The only person who can change somebody with any degree of success is God, so leave them to him! Seriously. He can do a far better job than we can, so why go through unnecessary stress?

However, there *is* one person we can change: ourselves. And although we might need God's help with this, too, we can make gradual modifications to ourselves, so we become better people. The trick is to look at ourselves as critically as we look at others, and when we do, we will discover that many of those adjectives we use to describe others describe us as well. Then, of course, we are left with a choice: change and become a better person, or remain as we are.

Unfortunately, we are as resistant to change as the people we try to change. Have you noticed this? We get set in our ways and become so comfortable with how we are we will justify every bad habit we have and make excuses for every pattern of behavior, even those that may be patently evil. This can have eternal consequences, as you are probably aware.

So, how do we change, then? With the realization that "if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then it's just a matter of setting our minds to living this new life, like a person who is overweight may set their mind on losing a few pounds and therefore begins exercising and/or dieting. And just as they will become fitter and healthier people, we will become better and more gracious people. And then, strangely enough, other people will seem far less obnoxious, and their habits far less irritating than they are now. Try it and see!

May the Spirit be with you.

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