Is There Someone You’re Trying To Change?

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Whenever you are trying to show someone his fault, remember that there are limits to what you can accomplish. You can raise concerns, suggest solutions, and encourage reasonable thinking, but you cannot force change

God may use you as a spokesperson to bring certain issues to the attention of another person, but only God can penetrate the other person’s heart and bring about repentance. Paul clearly describes this division of labor in 2 Timothy 2:24-26: “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (emphasis added).

Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 182.

Food for Thought

Is there someone you’re trying to change? Here’s some biblical counsel: Stop! You may want to take a moment to write these words down on a note card and tape it to your mirror so that you see it every morning:

MY JOB: To speak the truth in love
GOD’S JOB: To change people

Our sense of what’s “workable” or “practical” may be our biggest enemy in biblical peacemaking. God doesn’t call us to be peacemakers in a given situation because it “works” (though often it does–even in ways we can never imagine); God calls us to be peacemakers so that people can see Christ in us.

So next time you’re in a conflict and in thinking about peacemaking you find yourself tempted to say, “Well, that’ll never work in this case!”, remember the difference between God’s job description and your own.

I see me doing this with my hubby and my son….do you?

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6 responses »

  1. ouch…yup I do this too…and it’s not a good thing usually. I get annoyed by people who are seemingly unteachable. I know God can change anyone but…yeah…

  2. Good post. I’m afraid we’re all guilty of trying to do God’s job at times. I’ve heard from several different sources that Sande’s book is very good. I’m going to have to add it to the mountain of other books in my library waiting to be read.
    ~~thanks for the comment, Barry! Hoe are you these days? Blessings, Kristina

  3. no kidding. i wish i could change everyone in my life… including me. God does that, too, rather slowly for my taste.

  4. I heard a great sermon about this today. The guy was quoting from Oswald Chambers about how we as good Christians try to interrupt the path that others are on by trying to change them or their circumstances. What Chambers said was that we need to get out of the way of the course God himself has set these people on to work out their own salvation.
    ~~amen to that, Des!

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