“If you want to change, you can’t give in to the same old ideas produced by the same old thought patterns in the same old mind of the same old personality – our selfish, dishonest, self-seeking character.” Joe McQ, The Steps We Took
This quote is in tune with the old adage, “One definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I want to change from the person I have been – a selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, fearful person – and become an honest, loving, humble, servant of Christ. But to make that change I have to die to my old ways of living and thinking; I can’t keep behaving the same way and expect different results. The selfish things I used to do didn’t work; or rather, they worked very well in hurting others and getting me exactly what I didn’t want. If I want positive results for my efforts and healthy relationships in my life, I have to try new things.
Today at church the Holy Spirit convicted me regarding some anger and bitterness I was harboring toward a friend and mentor I had a confrontation with several weeks ago. For several minutes I sat in my seat, Bible open in my lap, and argued with God. I could almost hear His voice, and it felt like a real conversation:
(Me) “But God, this guy really hurt my feelings! He said some things that really cut me deeply. I know I’m supposed to forgive him, but I don’t really want to.”
(God) “I know, son. I know you are angry and hurt. But you are only hurting yourself at this point, and you need to let these things go.”
(Me) “I know, but I feel like I’m letting him of the hook. I can’t just let people walk all over me…he was really wrong!”
(God) “Yes, I know it feels that way. You may be right; he may have acted inappropriately and said things he shouldn’t have said. I know he hurt you. You still have to forgive him.”
(Me) “<sigh>…OK, well if you will help me find my friend, I will talk to him…”
After church today I found my friend, told him he had hurt my feelings, and confessed that I had been harboring anger and bitterness since our argument. I told him I wanted to let those negative feelings go because I loved him and I wanted to restore our relationship; I even asked him to pray for me.
My old self would never have had that conversation. I would have held onto my anger and stewed about it for weeks or months. I would have discarded the relationship and chalked it up to my friend’s inappropriate behavior. I would have been ‘right’, and I would have lost a friend and mentor. I don’t want to lose any more friends and mentors, though. Today God reminded me that if I want my life to change, my attitudes and actions must, of necessity, change as well.