Is There Someone You're Trying To Change?
Whenever you are trying to show someone his fault, remember that there are limits to what you can accomplish. You can raise concerns, suggest solutions, and encourage reasonable thinking, but you cannot force change. God may use you as a spokesperson to bring certain issues to the attention of another person, but only God can penetrate the other person's heart and bring about repentance. Paul clearly describes this division of labor in 2 Timothy 2:24-26: "And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will" (emphasis added).
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflictby Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 182.
Food for Thought
Is there someone you're trying to change? Here's some biblical counsel: Stop! You may want to take a moment to write these words down on a note card and tape it to your mirror so that you see it every morning:
MY JOB: To speak the truth in love
GOD'S JOB: To change people
Our sense of what's "workable" or "practical" may be our biggest enemy in biblical peacemaking. God doesn't call us to be peacemakers in a given situation because it "works" (though often it does--even in ways we can never imagine); God calls us to be peacemakers so that people can see Christ in us. So next time you're in a conflict and in thinking about peacemaking you find yourself tempted to say, "Well, that'll never work in this case!", remember the difference between God's job description and your own.
PeaceMeal is a publication of Peacemaker® Ministries. Copyright 2009. Reprinted with permission. To sign up for this free weekly email publication, go to the Peacemaker Ministries website at www.Peacemaker.net.