A great and persistent lie of our culture is that people never change, or when they do it’s for the worse. Think of all the marriages you know that crumbled because the people in them “changed.” What a shame that changing for the good is written off as unrealistic.
This week I had numerous contractors at my house to install the above cozy gas fireplace. One worker, named Tony, ran into all sorts of setbacks that were not his fault. Others had told him to run the gas line one way, but when it got down to tackling the job, the guidance from his company was dead wrong. His response cracked me up. Instead of getting frustrated about the significant amount of time he wasted, Tony just calmly shrugged and said, “We’ll get it done. Happens all the time.”
When he opened the custom metal panel he was installing around the fireplace, he discovered it was wrong too. It had extra metal tabs that would need to be sawed off. He didn’t have the tools to do it, but when he called in reinforcements to help, he did so with a voice as cool as a cucumber. Tony’s day started early and it was already getting dark. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he would’ve gotten a little ticked about the comedy of errors befalling our installation, but he just shrugged again and pressed on.
“Tony,” I said, “I think you could teach anger management courses.”
He stopped what he was doing and looked over at me.
“I spent two years in anger management,” he said.
You can imagine the depth of conversation we had after that, but the takeaway is that Tony changed. By God’s grace, anger management took.
People change all the time. I am not the meanie I was growing up. I am not the selfish, jealous jerk my husband married. I am not who I was at thirty, or thirty-five. I am not the person I was last year or even last week. Every day I am changed by my Savior. I am on a journey of sanctification, just like Tony. Anyone and everyone can change if they are willing to admit they can’t do it on their own. And I know I’m a sinner, that I fall short all the time, that I stink at self-help, that any advancements I make on my own are temporary. But I also know that God ripped out my heart of stone, and gave me a heart of flesh that is motivated not by bettering myself, but by pleasing Him.
I have a long way to go, clearly, but I am so grateful that I don’t live in defeat. Today I thank God for 2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.