A couple screams at each other with words that are sharper than any battle sword. Friendships and familial ties are broken because tension pulls them apart. If we were to be brutally honest, we would openly admit that relationships in any context are sometimes extremely difficult to maintain. We see this proven practically by the concept of divorce, legal actions, and passive aggressive social media comments indirectly directed at that one person who has caused grief in someone’s life.

These interactions take work, and to keep a steady and healthy disposition means that I must have “skin in the game” emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and even physically. Even though this is true, it does not negate the fact that I (we) often succumb to the temptation to control the world around us. The desire to will things to be different. Our innate sense of self sufficiency takes over and we desire to become kings and queens of our immediate surroundings.

When we are in conflict, we often wish that we can force the other person or situation to change. Why is this? Well, probably because we, as flawed humans, have a natural aversion to the idea that we may be part of the problem. In any case, we desire change, but it is hard to desire change within us. Obviously, we can agree that this is unhealthy.

There is a healthy side to this desire, though. If we, as Christ-followers, observe people who are living in a captivity of their own design, then there should be a deep desire to see them transformed by the gospel. Or, maybe someone is far away from God, and they have seen nothing but hostility and perceived hatred from those who claim Christ as their savior. Like any other similar impulse, we want to be the hero that changes these individuals. That way, we can stand in front of God in the afterlife and be showered with praise for a job well done. Our crown, gleaming with prizes.

No matter how hard we try, we can’t change the hearts of anyone. No amount of arguing, stubbornness, convincing, or even manipulation can redirect their hearts and eternal destiny. So stop trying. When we look at this from a broad perspective, it is easy to become discouraged. We may think that we have failed at our life’s calling. This is not true. There is more to consider.

When we look at scripture, and what Jesus teaches us about being His disciple, we realize that we are still vitally important in the rescuing of lost souls. This is because there are only 2 things we can change about people. That is… 1) what they hear from our lips, and 2) what they see in our actions.

It starts with us. We must be the example. Share joy today.

-Landon DeCrastos