Monday, February 21, 2011

People Never Change

People never change.

Or do they?

I've always kind of cringed at this expression.  For most of my life, I generally am more apt to trust until they give me a reason not to trust or believe.  I prefer to believe the best about people.
But I'm not naive.
Cause people are basically selfish.  We have a tendency to do what gives us our most desired pay off.  It's that pay off or perceived benefit that keeps us from changing when we know what's best for us.
I'm not really sure where I picked up this idea, but I know it's not original to me.  Sin is often the meeting of a legitimate need in an illegitmate way.  I only bring it up because it points back to the pay off as an explanation for why we do wrong things.  It helps me to forgive others and myself because it reminds me that we're human, after all.

When the pay off for doing the right thing is a more desirable than the pay off for short-circuiting to the end result in a wrong way, that's when people change.  And that's why it's SO HARD.  It's not natural to take the hard way when the easy way seems so... easy.

  • That's why it's hard to put down the extra cupcake and grab a piece of fruit instead.
  • That's why it's hard to give up that wrong relationship and forge a healthy one.
  • That's why it's hard to be patient and earn the money for the object you want, instead of taking it or the means to get it.
  • That's why it's hard to swallow your pride and apologize when you were also wronged.
  • That's why it's hard to keep sex the way God made it when it's so readily available.
  • That's why it's hard to choose healthy behaviors and give up an addictive habit when "just this one time" doesn't seem so bad.
...and countless other ways it just is SO HARD to give up the easy way.

So, I believe that people can and DO change!  But, certainly not everyone does because it is difficult.  It takes a new mindset that only the person who needs to change can choose.  A mindset that decides that the reward for choosing the right way outweighs the easy pay off.  Rinse and repeat.  and repeat.  and repeat.  and repeat.  And when you stumble, remember the reward and get back to practicing again.  And if you're the one changing, soon enough you'll look in the mirror to find that you are who you wanted to be after all.

If you're the one waiting on a loved one to change:
  1. Love - no matter what
  2. Be patient - we didn't get to where we are in a day.
  3. Change yourself - who of us is perfect?
  4. Pray for God's richest rewards on your loved one's right choices!   - ask Him to answer the "what's in it for me?" question beyond their wildest expectations.  I think He loves to wow us with what He's capable of doing in us and for us when we trust Him.


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