I Don't Want To...Change
- Wednesday, May 2, 2018
- By Johannes Schouten
Recently I wrote a blog post entitled "I Don't Want To Believe."
I can undestandt something thinking that either that is counter-intutitive or bordening on being "blasphemous" (or maybe both at the same time!).
"I don't want to believe" sounds blasphemous or maybe "anti-Christian" because it might seem that I am making a statement and encouraging others to make the same kind of statement. That is not the case.
Rather, "I don't want to believe" is a realistic understanding of my heart and, at the same time, a kind of confession. I recognize that there is much about me (my sinful heart, my self-directed will, my anti-God soul) that leans towards unbelief. At the same time I recognize there is much in our culture that pulls me away from faith in Jesus Christ.
"I don't want to believe" may also sound counter-intuitive coming from a pastor or church leader because our role is to call people to believe. And that is true. I want to see people come to faith and grow in their faith. But sometimes that cannot happen until we do some confession regarding the state of our heart.
I have come to realize that I could also use the "I don't want to (believe)" for other things as well. For example I could say (both as sane assessment of my heart and as a confession) that "I don't want to change." I recognize, by God's grace and mercy, change does happen in my life. I recognize that sometimes change happens in spite of me. But, I also recognize that there is much about me that does not want to change.
NOTE: when I talk about "change" I am thinking about change in good and godly directions, changing in healthy ways, changing into the image of Jesus Christ (who is the perfect human being).
Why is this? Why don't I (and others???) want to change?
I recognize at least 3 reasons:
1. I want to "wallow" in my sin: people usually like life the way it is and life they way they live it. Change requires letting go of the things I like to do that are not good for me (but I still like and want to do them!).
2. I don't want to be wrong: embracing change (in any form) requires some admission and confession that "I am wrong" (whether wrong "a lot" or wrong "a litte bit").
3. I don't want to hurt: change, especially change in character, attitude, perspective, etc. requires works and oftentimes, some level of pain.
"I don't want to change."
But, Jesus, change me. Or to pray with St. Augustine: “Lord, command what you will and grant what you command!” [In essence: O God, change me according to your commands and your will, not according to my commands and my will].