A few years ago I was talking with someone in my family about the dark acts that people do in life – everything from crime to adultery. He categorically stated, “People don’t change.” That guided how he interacted with people. Once they had crossed that line – that is who they would be forever. He would still be cordial to people, but never trust them again.
What do you think? How do you deal with it when people have crossed the line? Where is the line? How do you deal with the darkness inside of yourself?
My first reaction to him, those years ago, was, “Of course people can change – I see it all the time as a pastor!” He replied back to me that this wasn’t real character change – just some behavior. He posited that anyone can look good on a Sunday morning, but real character change isn’t possible.
I have spent more time reflecting on this – and I still believe that character can change. Hearts can turn cold – but they can find God’s warmth again. Many do not ever change, but it is possible. To go beyond behavior change, though, to real character change – means a new creation has to happen inside of someone – and that is only possible with God.
Jesus changes lives. This Christmastime we are focusing on the lives that were impacted by Jesus – the Magi, Anna, Joseph, Simeon, the shepherds. These encounters with Jesus changed these people – they were never the same. I could tell you stories today about convicted felons who now serve at our church, or adulterers who have strong marriages, or a know-it-all teenager who became a pastor (that last one is me, working to be humble in Him). Jesus came to die – because we need FORGIVENESS. Jesus came to rise again – because we need to walk with Him every day.
People can change – what is your story this Christmastime? My prayer is that you will draw closer to Him everyday – and find the joy of the journey with the Author of Life, our King.