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Can we Change Others?

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Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1

I think just about everyone knows someone close to them that they would like to change, and it is often people in our near family. Do we point out their irritating faults and tell them to change with virtually no results? Can we really make people change? What can we do that might influence someone to change?

What happens when we tell someone their faults and they need to change? The person will usually rebel because we are taking away their freedom of choice, their liberty. Dr. Timothy Jennings in his book Could It Be This Simple, A Biblical Model for Healing the Mind, states; “Two predictable consequences that occur when someone violates the law of liberty, it always destroys love and incites rebellion. It happens whenever and in whatever circumstances our freedoms get violated.” In conclusion telling a person their fault and demanding they change doesn’t lead to success.

Let’s look at what scripture says about influencing others. The apostle Paul told the people at the Corinthian church to follow his example of living the Christian life. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16) A mature Christian influences others in a positive Godly direction. Necessary for ministering to the world is that we model Christ in our words and in our actions.

If we show Christ’s love and wisdom we can more effectively influence the person we want to change. The secret to getting others to change is showing Christ, and not arguing; criticizing, or demanding. This takes a person strong and secure in Christ because ministry in the family is almost always the most difficult ministry that you will encounter.

Sometimes we can reveal Christ in our words and actions, grounded in God’s love, and the person may never change. This can be painful especially if we are close to the person. Remember we are closer to the Lord than anyone or anything, and everything in this life is temporary, heaven is our home. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37) We love our family but we are sustained by the perfect love from our Lord and support from our church family.

Today, remember to show Christ-like behavior, especially to those in your family. Stand strong, secure, and confident, but not prideful. Pray often for the person you want to change and leave their changing in the Lord’s hands.

Prayer: Lord, help me to reveal Christ to everyone, through my words and actions and reflect your love and wisdom. Keep me from anger and draw me closer to you each day. In Jesus name, Amen