“A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid.” Mark 5:15 (NLT)
One of the hardest things about change, beyond the act of change itself, is that some people will refuse to see you as new. They will not be able to make the adjustment to your new lifestyle, your new behavior and your new attitude. So, instead of acknowledging your growth, they will treat you as if you are that old person. The word from the Lord for you today is simply this: change anyway.
Understand this, the way that people treat you is really not about you. Rather, it is a reflection of what is inside of them; it reveals their heart and soul. The reverse is also true. The way that we treat others says more about us than it ever will about them. Yes, I know. The enemy has you convinced that the only reason you speak to your spouse the way that you do is because of what THEY do. You believe that you would not treat your boss in the manner that you do, IF (s)he would only stop…fill in the blank. Well, the devil is a liar. You and I always act in ways that are congruent with what is deep within us. That is what Jesus was getting at when He spoke the words recorded in Luke 6:45: “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (NLT) Real change is not a surface job. It will require us to be vulnerable and honest about what is going on within our depths.
The best impetus for change is when the one changing realizes that they cannot stay the same any longer. Even though change is always possible, this one thing is true. No matter what anyone says, no matter the hurt that I cause or the pain that I inflict upon myself and others; I will not change until I want to be different. Change does not happen in isolation. We must be connected to the right people in order for our transformation to be confirmed and tested. Moreover, you cannot simply will yourself to be different. You need help. Sometimes that help will look like you seeking out mental and emotional health providers. Other times, it will be you separating from the things (and sometimes people) that are making you comfortable in your brokenness. All the time, it will require an understanding of the profound love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that Jesus Christ extends to you. Here’s the thing, God already knows everything about us – our best and our worst – and still God sent Jesus to live, to die and to live again, for us. (See Romans 5:8)
Someone once said that “hurt people, hurt people.” I know first hand, from both sides, that this is indeed true. Here is another truth: healed people heal people. Whole people inspire wholeness in others. Authentic people free others to live authentically. No, it will not be easy. Yes, you may still be misunderstood, taken advantage of or even injured along the journey. But, it will be worth it. And, most importantly, God will be pleased. God honors all of our faith-filled steps. The road may get rough, but keep moving towards the One who loves you perfectly; the One who will reward you in this life and in the next. Do. It. Anyway.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)