Having written about how to confront someone lovingly, I feel it is important to add a postscript to the discussion, and that is: It is not our job to change the other person. It's simply our job to communicate with the other person. Change is up to God.
Over and over, I see people (particularly women) reinterpret the idea of lovingly confronting someone into subtly manipulating someone to change. Let me explain how this works, and why it can be a relationship-killer.
"Do you know who is going to be most sad when Yaasha marries someday?"
When my mother asked this of my father, I sat up straighter in the back seat of the car and tried to pretend that I wasn't listening with all my might.
"Who?" Daddy asked. Yes, who? My mind echoed.
"Asher. Those two are always doing something together, and he seems to really enjoy the time she spends with him, and to listen when she talks to him."
A wiggle of pure delight danced in my chest. My brother Asher is almost 11 years my junior. So while I'm in my mid-20s, he's in his mid-teens. That age gap is often a huge hurdle for siblings. For my brother and I, it's just another reason to spend more time getting to know each other.
Sometimes we're afraid to serve someone because we think that what we have to offer is too little. I cannot count the numerous times when I have done nothing simply because I felt that, if I was going to bless someone, I had to do so when I could offer a lot of time or commitment. So I failed to reach out to others in Christ-like love because I felt inadequate.
And I missed so many opportunities.
Riddle: How is a frog’s instinct to hide in the tall grass similar to the natural instincts of humans?
When I mow the grass in my yard, it is not uncommon for a frog to suddenly startle from the grass right in front of my lawnmower, and to leap frantically away. The instinct to run from the deadly machine is a good one.
But the direction of that flight is often wrong. The frog’s natural instinct is to hide from its predators in the long grass, where its shiny green sides make it nearly invisible. The problem? The purpose of the lawnmower is to cut the long grass.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.