Monday, October 15, 2012

Real Change

Over the course of the past several months I've had many conversations with many different people from many different walks of life (Christians, believers of other faiths, and non-believers, vegans and omnivores, democrats and republicans, Americans and Europeans).  We all want the world around us to be better... we really do... even the most cynical of us wish things could have been a bit different.

Ever since I was really little I have resolved to spend my life trying to make the world a better place for everyone.  I entered ministry at a very young age helping out the American missionaries in Belarus, slowly graduating from interpreting for ministers to ministering myself.

(children are listening to the lesson at our Sidewalk Sunday School site)
If there is one lesson that I have learned during my years in ministry it would be this - Real Change Comes From Within.  If you convince people to change from the outside in - they will sooner or later lapse back.  If you're losing weight for a special event - you will gain it right back plus some when the event passes.  If you're staying away from all the major "sins" like getting drunk, having sex without being married, no drugs - but you have not developed a personal relationship with God - it is only a matter of time before you slip again.  If a child has learned to obey the parent to get something out of them you can be sure that when the incentive fades they will start disobeying again.  I'm sure it's easy to get my point and the list of examples is endless.  

I'm sure all of us have someone in our lives that we're frustrated with.  We want them to act differently, to speak differently, to be different.  And while sometimes our discomfort does not equal the fact that the person needs to change (yay for diversity), whenever we speak of destructive behaviors - it is always true.  There are people in my life who I've poured into and invested in more than most others would get... and they  chose to walk away from God.  Why?  Because they were not changed from within.  They loved spending time with me, they loved the attention they got at church, they loved attending all the events, they loved having somewhere to be and something to do... but they did not love God.

When people around you seem to stumble - do not get frustrated or angry.  Be an example.  Be there for them. And most importantly - pray that God will bring the change from within.

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