Changing Others

When was the last time you tried to change someone? How did it go for you?

Leo Babauta doesn’t write as often at his blog as he did a few years ago, but he recently posed that question at Zen Habits.

He proceeded to discuss ways that you can change rather than getting that other person to change.

You can change your attitude toward them. Become more forgiving, perhaps. Recognizing that you, yourself, do not change easily (when was the last time you tried to change your eating habits in an attempt to lose weight?).

You can change your intention for them. Stop trying to remake them in your mind.

But then I thought, “I write from an evangelical Christian point of view. We believe we can change people.”

It’s not simply “bringing Jesus into your life.” How many people do you know that have an addictive personality? They became Christian and switched their addiction to Jesus? It’s a far better addiction, but they still haven’t truly lived into the peace and joy of a life fully lived in Jesus.

But many of us truly have changed. But we did it not so much through urging of others (although that may have prodded a few of us), but maybe more through the example of others.

As we changed our focus and attitude, we began to live more in prayer and study. We slowed down our inner processes a little. Began to recognize others–their needs, desires.

I’ve not only seen that happen, I’ve experienced it.

But it didn’t come because someone else tried to change me by force of will. I just lived into an example. How Jesus lived, and how some of his followers lived that I thought was pretty cool.

So, check out Leo’s list. But then look at how two of his ideas for accepting the other’s problems actually, over time, can help them grow. Not reflecting back to them their bad habits (say, anger) and providing an example of a better way to live.

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