“Change but no change” is a phrase familiar to those in the therapy world. A client wants help with their pain, but is reluctant to change their patterns of behavior, relationships, or other aspects of their life. As a therapist, I know change occurs when the client begins to look at themselves and what they need to do differently. That is when I can help them. Or, if it is a couple, the relationship begins to heal when each individual stops pointing the finger at the other and is willing to look at their own contribution to the relationship problems.
A parallel can be drawn to the change we desire in our troubled culture. If my focus is solely on the ills and evil of society, I miss the opportunity to address the one thing I do have control over–myself. Each day I have a choice–I can rail against these ills or I can examine myself as an instrument of the Kingdom. I can offer myself to be shaped into the likeness of Christ by deepening my relationship with God. I am, of course, not saying we neglect addressing the wrongs in our society. What I am saying is that God knows best how to address the problems and how best to use me. The most effective use of my efforts is to allow God to change ME and then join into God’s work of changing the world.
Mother Teresa, a person who had a tremendous impact on the world and the evils of our time, was devoted to Christ and his ongoing work in her. She encouraged a focus of change in ourselves in the following statement:
People are often unreasonable and self-centered
FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives,
BE KIND ANYWAY
If you are honest, people may cheat you,
BE HONEST ANYWAY
If you find happiness, people may be jealous
BE HAPPY ANYWAY
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
DO GOOD ANYWAY
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.
GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God
IT NEVER WAS BETWEEN YOU AND THEM ANYWAY.
Grace and peace to you,