We want to believe that people can change, but, when confronted with the need to re-engage with someone who has broken our trust (or our hearts), we hesitate to believe that real change has happened. Why?
1) We believe we can change. We may doubt that other people can change, but we are confident that we can do it ourselves. How many times have we said "I've changed"? Every time we try to convince someone that we'll never do something again, we testify to our belief that we can change.
Why is it so difficult to believe that someone else can do what we believe we can do ourselves?
2) The most thorough change in people's lives comes from God. The deepest, darkest, most awful parts of us can be changed, will be changed if we are in Christ. That whole business about becoming "a new creation" is taken deadly seriously by the One who died for us.
Why do we struggle to trust God for people-change?
3) God changes people in his own time. Sure, we participate, encourage, and all that. But if God is the one who works the deepest change, he gets to set the schedule. He may work the change quickly. He may do it over time.
And this scares me. I want people-change to be immediate or impossible. Change taking years creates a tense gray season, forces blind leaps of faith.
How do we respond to God taking his time?
Thanks to Brad Mullinax for generating so much thought on this today. Amherst and Oasis Church are lucky to have you, as are all of us who call you "Friend."