By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Director of John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries.
Each Thursday on “. . .all for God’s Glory” we will feature a post written by Dr. John Ed Mathison, Senior Pastor at Fraser Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama for 36 years.
Posted September 5th, 2012 by John Ed Mathison
Several years ago Keith Miller wrote a book, A Second Touch, in which he tells about a twelve year old boy who had a conversation with his dad. The boy was unhappy and resentful. He had no friends. He was having trouble in school. He thought his classmates were the problem and they needed to change.
This young boy noticed a change in his father. He wanted to talk to his father about it. His dad replied, “Well, son, I was making a mess out of my life. A big mess, and I decided to let God take it over and to show me how to live it.” And then he said, “I don’t know how else to say it, except to say that it has made all the difference in the world to me.”
That boy said to his father, “Dad, I think I would like to do that too.”
Then an interesting thing happened. The father was out of town for a couple of weeks. When he returned home from his business trip, his twelve year old son met him at the airport. As they were walking through the concourse the young man said something extremely perceptive and true. He said, “Dad, do you know what God has done?” “No,” said the father, “what has God done?” The boy said with a big smile on his face, “Dad, God has changed every kid in my class!”
It is very interesting in life that when we have trouble with other people, we are always asking God to change them, or the situation. What really needs changing is not other people, but me. When God changes me other people begin to change.
This is an interesting approach to human relationships. Each of us at times has difficulties with people. While the human approach is to ask God to change them, the best approach to resolve difficulties is to ask God to change me.
Moses says in Deuteronomy 10:16, “change your sinful hearts and stop being stubborn.” He later says to the people when he talks about their possibilities of carrying out his will, “The Lord your God will cleanse your heart and the hearts of all your descendants so that you will love him with all your heart and soul, and so you may live!” (Deuteronomy 30:6)
Paul’s advice to his young friend Timothy is “your heart will be changed and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” (II Timothy 2:21) Then he says, “don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will believe the truth.” (II Timothy2:23-25)
Jeremiah says to the people of Judah, “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts…surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord.” (Jeremiah 4:3-4)
A personal heart change changes everything!