Have you ever met someone that has that thing about them that just bothers you? You either have no idea what that is or you know the exact thing that just drives you up the wall, but either way you just CAN’T take it.
I heard a pastor say once before, “What if the behavior that is annoying you is the very thing that you need to change?”
Yeah, I felt convicted too.
So, I have a little brother named Jeremy. Jeremy and I used to be best buds when we were younger. We did everything together from dressing him up in my clothes to tackling each other to the ground in a game of “Capture the flag”.
When we both grew up, we grew apart. He got himself into some trouble as did I when I was in high school, but for some reason when he did it, it bothered me like nothing else.
I was angry at him all the time. I had no idea why but I just couldn’t look at him in the eye without wanting to strangle him. You know you’ve had that feeling about a sibling, I’ll just be the first to admit it. And I don’t know about you but I have felt this way about a few people.
It’s not something I like to admit, but we are only human and we just sometimes get frustrated for what seems to us, no apparent reason.
So this summer, I went to church with my little brother and ironically enough, the sermon was called “The Change Game”. I was in for it for sure.
I have always felt like I needed to change people. Whether it be a bad habit, an addiction, or even a direction they were headed in life that was just doomed.
As I was listening to this sermon, I could feel my brother looking over at me in the corner of his eye and I just had a sinking feeling that I had done something very wrong.
I think in that moment I realized that I was not put on this earth to change people. I am here to love them.
That night I came home and opened up to Romans 14:1,
“Accept the one whose faith is weak without quarreling over disputable matters.”
That verse was God was pretty much shaking me and saying, “Enough is enough!” It was time I stopped trying to change my little brother when I can choose to accept him instead.
When I was putting pressure on Jeremy to change, I was actually putting an obstacle in his way.
If I was going to treat my brother the way God has treated me when I was so lost, I would accept him. I would model the life God has called me to live. I would be curious and ask him questions. Questions as to why he believes what he does or why he does things in a certain way, and then I would invite God into the situation.
If you ever feel frustrated with someone, and it’s usually the ones closest to us, I encourage you to ask yourself what it is that bothers you so much. After you do that, look at yourself and figure out what it is that needs to grow inside of you.
Im not here to tell you that you’ve got a lot of crap you need to change. If I did, I would be somewhat of a hypocrite. But I have learned that when we take the opportunity to look at our hearts through a different lens and ask ourselves the hard questions, the greatest kind of change happens. Not the change we see in others, but the one we see in ourselves.
Sharing your past, your failures, and all your junk doesn't only bring you the freedom and healing that the Lord is so clearly offering us, but it reminds others that they're not alone in this broken world.