Be Changed

The other day I was reminded of the below words from an anonymous Rabbi that have been written. These words are now famous as he sat on his deathbed, and they were a powerful reminder to me too.

When I was young, I set out to change the world. When I grew a little older, I perceived this was too ambitious, so I set out to change my state. This too I realised was too ambitious, so I set out to change my town. When I realised I could not even do this, I tried to change my family. Now as an old man I know that I should have started by changing myself, maybe then I would have succeeded in changing my family, the town, or even the state – and who knows maybe even the world.”

I met a teenage girl at a recent Christian event in a seminar Heather and I were leading. We were discussing the dynamic of the way we were created to be, and the fact that God is changing and molding us too. This girl said that there is nothing in her that can change. She felt that God has created her the way she is, so no attitudes, habits, behaviours, feelings can change, no matter what she does or what God does. That broke my heart a little, to think that some people don’t feel they can enter a journey of growing and developing. The idea that we might just be ‘the way we are’ and that’s it. We chatted more about this in the group and hopefully began to envision her with the hope of growth, development and positive change in her life.

I pray this isn’t an attitude I slip into. I pray this isn’t an attitude people in our world have. Many of us want to make a difference, want to make a change. We’ve heard the phrase “if you want to see the change you’ve got to BE the change!”, and I hope we don’t just take that to mean that we are the catalysts and ‘bringers’ of change. I think the phrase does mean that, but it means more than that. It means that we need to be changed ourselves before we can bring about any change in the world around us. It means that we need developing, molding, changing, altering – in our attitudes, our behaviours, our habits, our ways of thinking and decision making, the way we treat others, the way we speak and communicate, the way we deal with our circumstances, other people and even the way we deal with ourselves. We need to change before we can bring any change in others.

Once, when everyone was showing off infront of Jesus about how great they supposedly were, a guy came up to him and said ‘Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!‘. That humble attitude declaring our desperate need of God to change us is a great way to look at it. The thing about realising we need to change is that it requires us at first to realise and accept that we do things wrong, that we make stupid decisions, and that we need help.

The epic result, is that God always draws alongside us, helps us, strengthens us and loves us. We don’t stay with our heads down, he lifts us up our heads, and we find strength and grace from him and can be changed from the inside out.

What do you think? Is it hard to accept that we need to change? What do you feel when you read that paragraph from the rabbi? When was the last time you said to God ‘Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!‘?



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