Grace x2 Marriage Conference [Part 8]
By Alan Wright — July 30, 2018
Are you ready for some good news?
It’s not wrong to want your spouse (or friend or family member) to change for the better. It’s how you help them grow and change that makes all the difference.
Today’s Text: “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:25, ESV)
The wise spouse learns God’s way of empowering his mate to change.
I used to think that you should never want your spouse to change. Accept them just the way they are. No one is perfect. There is, of course, a lot of truth in those words. You definitely aren’t in charge of another person’s will. You definitely aren’t called to control others. And you definitely should seek God’s grace to be an ever increasingly patient and accepting person.
That said, it’s not helpful to think that we won’t ever want the people we love to change. Of course we do! To love someone is to want them to grow. I want my kids to change as they grow in wisdom, stature, and favor. I want my wife to experience the joy of growing spiritually to be everything that God has planned for her to be. Growing things change. There’s actually nothing wrong with wanting your loved one to change; the problem is how we try to get them to change.
In searching the scriptures I’ve concluded that, other than prayer, there are four ways that we can help people change. They are the same ways that God helps us.
1. We can foster a shame-free, grace-soaked environment in which people feel safe. In an environment of acceptance, we learn and grow best.
2. We can sow spiritual seed with faith, knowing that everything reproduces after its own kind. If we want to see a harvest of gentleness, we need to sow gentleness.
3. We can treat others as heirs/owners rather than slaves. Treating others like the heirs they are in Christ will inspire them to live up to their noble calling.
4. We can bless others with a positive vision over their lives. We tend to rise to the vision others have for us.
It’s not wrong to want others to change if you the way you help them is the way of God. And that’s the Gospel!