So… can people like, really change?
We all know that one person who looks like they’ve changed. Who went from 0-100 (or 100-0). Who used to live like this, now they live like that. Well, I’m one of those people.
Not only am I one, but I know many. Sadly, I also hear the criticism. The questioning. The asking, “Can people really change?” or “Can people really change that much?” I’ve heard it, but mostly overheard it, from so many people. Friends, coworkers, family members. Not many people believe that someone can live a crazy life, encounter Jesus, and give it all up for Him. (And not only that, but be so much happier in it!)
This truly breaks my heart because I’ve seen first hand the transformation God can bring to a person’s life. But at the same time, I know how most people think and talk because I have done it, too. I used to be the one to say, “No way. How fake.” It wasn’t until God came out of left field, saved me, and woke me up that I experienced and believed in transformation.
A little note about my past: It wasn’t pretty. I got out of a high school relationship of manipulation, control, and abuse. It was all downhill from there. I had been so hurt, and honestly felt betrayed by God because that guy who had hurt me so bad went into the seminary to become a priest. Yep, a Catholic priest. I thought to myself, if God wants to use this person as a leader, after all the things he led me into, God must not be as good as people say he is. That led to a college experience trying to mask this pain, and using the world to do it.
I didn’t want God, so I turned to the world. I looked for love, and at times it appeared that I got it, only to get hurt worse later on. I tried to find not only love, but worth and fulfillment in the world as well- through drinking, relationships, friendships, just to name a few. But the drinking led to hangovers, relationships led to heartbreak, and friendships were fueled by gossip. What seemed fun in the moment, what made me feel alive, was actually killing me inside. I had been deceived by false promises for so long. The Bible tells us that Satan is the ruler of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)- that’s why its so broken. He makes people think in ways that they cannot see the beauty and glory of God by giving things that look better and more appealing. Everything he is and gives is counterfeit, fake, and deadly. Maybe not physically deadly, but he can kill your soul.
Looking back now, I can see that I was trying to replace the hole in my heart that ached for God’s love. I looked to a broken world to fix a broken me, but mixing shattered glass with shattered glass only leads to more of a mess. I needed a glue to put me back together, hands to hold me steady and to piece by piece make me something more beautiful than ever. It took being broken to the point where I truly didn’t believe anything could fix me.
But God. He is putting me back together in a way that only He could have envisioned. He allowed me to get so broken in order to arrange my pieces in a way that would bring more glory and honor to Him. He is still working on me, and any person who knows Him will tell you that we’re all still a work in progress. But the journey with Him brings more good times than alcohol, more love than a relationship, and a better friend than you could ever dream of.
Am I still the same person I was? Hell to the no. So much so that my old self is dead. Don’t believe me? Colossians 3:3. Praise God that my old self is dead, that I am made new in Christ. It may sound extreme, but in all truth, it is that extreme. When you give your life to Jesus and accept Him as your savior, he takes all the hurts from your past. Does this mean you become some perfect person who never does, says, or thinks anything bad? No. Not at all. Its a choice every day. But when you give God your heart, He can make it beautiful. And when your heart truly changes, your intentions and actions will follow.
So back to the question – can people like, really change?
No they can’t. People cannot change that much.
But God. He can change people. He took a man, Paul, who killed Christians simply for being Christians, and changed His life in such radical ways that this man wrote most of the New Testament in the Bible. He took a broken, rarely sober, relationship seeking girl like me and made me a leader in ministry. You can’t change yourself that much- it wouldn’t be true and genuine and real. But God can change you, and I promise, you will have more joy, peace, and love in your life than you can ever imagine.