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Pointers along the way #243

Willingness to change
- Jacob Ninan

There is no progress without change. However averse we are to change, change we must. But we are so accustomed to demanding that the others and the circumstances should change, that we do not immediately realise that it is we who need to change. Perhaps others need to change, but we too need to change. People who have not learned to accept themselves as those with many faults, lacks and sinful tendencies and yet accepted by God as His beloved children will try to fix the blame on others. But if we have accepted the fact that there will always be need for change for the better, we will find it easier to make changes. This was about changes we need to make in our attitudes, behaviour, etc. But many times we are faced with having to make changes of other kinds too.

We would need to make changes in order to accommodate others who are different from us. This is one big area, and many of our problems are here. We can clamour, "It is obvious it is they who need to change." Agreed. But what if they are not mature enough to recognise the need for change, or are not willing to make the change? Don't we need to, many times, ignore the thing that offends us, go out of our way to be nice to them, adjust our own ways to keep in step with them, etc. (Co.3:13;Ro.14:21)? This can be especially difficult when we know better and have to fall in line with someone whose is weaker. It is difficult for us to understand why someone should be so taken up with something we don't consider to be important, wondering at the same time why he doesn't have the same burden as we have for something (because we don't have the same ministries)!

Another need is to change with the times. The recurring war between parents and teenage children about dress, hairstyle and music is typical. Most parents think their children are wrong, and the children think they are only changing with the times. Older people tend to think that what they are used to is the right standard and are unwilling to change.

When God wants us to relocate - in terms of place, job, ministry, emphasis or focus - or to change our approach or style, that can be very difficult for us. We sympathise with Peter's agitation when he was asked to eat 'unclean' things about which he had clear words from God Himself! But think of Abraham in Ur when God asked him to leave for a promised land without even telling him where it was! Moses had to go from palace to wilderness to palace and again to wilderness! How difficult it can be for us to make changes in the way we do things - in our personal life or ministry - when we are convinced that it was God who taught us in the first place!

When we come across those who hold different views on (minor) doctrines, do we look at the possibility that there could be some truth there we could learn, or do we straightaway train our guns at them?

I think the older we grow, the more open we must make ourselves to change.