“Once a whiner, always a whiner” or even “once a cheater always a cheater”, colloquial sayings that we’ve heard but are not necessarily true. “Once a; always a” statements mean that one cannot change their fundamental behavior.
Another colloquialism is “If it sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it’s a duck”. Again, not being able to change ones inherent attributes, features, behaviors, consummates the nature of that being. Plainly put: People don’t/can’t/won’t change.
But guess the heck what? Jesus changes people. And AMEN!!
What about grace in this worldly perspective? Don’t you have room for it? The mindset of not applying grace to certain people, basically renders grace to be powerless.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE
There’s someone in your life, your family, your job, your church that has, well, kind of a ‘track record.’
They’re flaky. The don’t always show up on time, sometimes not at all. Maybe it’s someone who may be a little gossipy, always oversharing someone else’s story. Someone a little arrogant. Someone too needy. Maybe it that person who acts like they know everything about everything. Or maybe it’s just that kid who’s always been overly obnoxious, inappropriate, and awkward. The kind of kid you don’t really want your own kid around. Kind of like a not so beautiful (or straight up ugly) caterpillar…
‘Once a; always a’ perspective negates the power of grace, it doesn’t embrace it. How can we expect to believe God when He says in Romans 12:2 that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds? Do we not believe He can, or do we not believe He will?
We model that perspective on a daily basis when we don’t give people room to grow, room to change, space to transform. And even worse, when they do… we don’t give them the acknowledgement or even the second chance to be the living proof of the power of God working in and through he hearts of people.
It makes me sad. It makes me angry, but most of all, it hurts.
The self deluded people who refuse to see the growth, operate out of fear from past experience, choose to stay blind out of either ignorance or indifference. I don’t know, I can’t understand why these people cannot and will not accept and love and embrace the ones who need it most. Validate, appreciate, and operate in loving our neighbor as ourself. Forgive. Risk loving. It’s like ignoring the fact that the caterpillar has turned into a butterfly. Actions and words that say, “Whatever, you still used to be an ugly caterpillar, so that what’s you ARE’.
There can be mistrust even when you see someone change. Those muscle memories don’t go away, and trust has to be built. It takes time to build trust. But we’ll never even have the chance if we don’t take a chance, or give someone a chance.
It’s been years over here in Plattville, and a lot has happened. Pain, lessons learned, wisdom gained, progress made, more pain, more growth, more perspective and more maturity.
Our little family has come a long way from where and who we were even just 3 years ago, let alone 5. I can probably count on one hand the friends who truly believe that and see the growth, see the pain that was not wasted, and that have given us a chance to be who God made us to be. I’m thankful for those people. They truly have validated and sealed us with grace and love. It makes me wonder if we didn’t have that support and acknowledgment, where we would be. It also makes me really want to validate and acknowledge the growth and progress of others.
I cannot make people give me or my family a second chance, I can’t make people acknowledge growth in my kids, or maturity developed in my kids. I hope and pray that I will always be able to give people a second chance and see them as who God made them to be. I’ve lived through some tough situations that required a daily dose of choosing forgiveness – and I’ve learned it’s worth it. It’s SO WORTH IT.
That family member who was flaky could learn the meaning of commitment. That gossipy, oversharing person could learn discretion and to be silent. Those others could develop humility, strength. That obnoxious and inappropriate kid who messed up hard years ago could blossom into a bright and shining star who loves Jesus and wants nothing more than to serve Him, but maybe also just needs to be accepted by the very ones who rejected them in the first place. And what would happen, if we gave them the room and the space to BE who GOD MADE them to be??? We all are in process, on the journey. All of us.
Goodness can come from ugliness.
Restorations and transformations CAN and DO occur.
Open the eyes of our hearts Lord…
Acknowledging the power of grace in our everyday lives IS powerful, and we SHOULD rejoice with each other when we grow.