Trying to make people change is a full time job. What a perfect world it would be if only other people would do what we would like them to! A plate in my living room may hold the key to the secret of change. It reads: Change the world, begin with yourself! This isn’t what most of us want to hear. Jesus understood this only too well when He told the parable about the problem of not recognising our own faults.
In Luke 6:42-45 Jesus says: “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck in your brother’s eye.”
Seeing other people’s faults easily without ever noticing your own is not just an indication of hypocrisy; it can be a wake-up call that the problem in your struggling relationship may be you. Perhaps it is your attitude that needs to change or you need a humble spirit. It’s a lesson some of us have to learn over and over again. We can’t change others but with God’s help we can change our own behaviour.
And when our attitude changes, it may seem as if others have changed as well. Change can be a wonderful prospect though often it happens when God works a change in us. He can also change others through us. Colossians 3:12-17 has a list of a dozen spiritual qualities that indicate a healthy soul. Prominent among them are compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love and thankfulness. Before criticising our church or other Christian groups, we should ask the Lord to reveal to us our own shortcomings.
Before ripping out the wires of relationships, we should check to see if patience and forgiveness are connected in our own heart. It’s good to examine our hearts to see the obvious first, even when it feels as if other people are the cause of our problems. Check within your heart first and you will see that the faults you find in others are really faults in you. After all, if you have true love like that of Christ, you will be patient with the faults of others.
When Jesus was insulted, He didn’t reply with an insult. When He was falsely denounced, He remained silent as a sheep before it’s shearer. Do you have inner peace when you’re criticised? As you ask the Holy Spirit for His help, you can respond in Christ-like way to false accusation or gossip. What others say may not be good, but we must make it understood that praise to God can give us poise and dissipate all their taunting noises. The worst criticism of you can bring out the best in you. So go ahead, ask the Lord to change you for the better first so that you can change the world for the better.
Published on March 2013