What to remember when you think someone will never change

Courtney Couch

Have you ever watched someone make decision after decision that seemed to wreck their life?

It’s a heart-wrenching experience when someone you care about is blind to what they’re doing to themselves by making poor choices. Bad decisions have a snowball effect. You know someone is walking into trouble when they rationalize decisions by saying:

This really isn’t that big of a deal.

I can handle it.

Would it really be that bad?

Jesus won’t let us walk away from Him for too long without calling us back to Him. But when someone we love doesn’t know Jesus, and we know that they need salvation, we can take that burden onto ourselves instead of surrendering them to God.

And if we’re not careful, carrying that weight will make us never want to share our faith again.

Three Things to Remember About Sharing Your Faith

1. Every conversation matters.  

1 Corinthians 3:5-8 compares sharing the gospel with gardening. Your conversation with a friend or family member plants the seed. Future conversations water the seed, but only God can cause the seed to grow.

When you invite a co-worker to church, share your story with a friend, or ask that estranged family member to coffee, you’re planting a seed. You may not be the person who sees that person ask Jesus into his or her life, but that doesn’t make your role in their spiritual journey any less important.

Trying to change someone’s behavior is like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet hole.

2. Behavior is the symptom, not the problem.

If someone doesn’t know Jesus Christ, they are without hope. Each of us is born with a hunger to know and grow closer to God. Along the way, we try to fill our lives with possessions or relationships in an effort to feel whole. Instead of filling our hearts with Jesus’ love, we make idols of the things that temporarily bring relief.  

If someone doesn’t know Jesus, that’s the biggest need in their lives. Trying to change someone’s behavior is like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet hole. A change in behavior might last for a day or two, but a change of heart will last forever.  

3. Let God be God, and do what you can do.

The more time I spend with Jesus, the more I look and act like Him. My relationship with Jesus should be nearly impossible to hide (Matthew 5:14).

I may not get the chance to walk everyone I meet through the Gospel. But because I know Jesus, a hurting person can still recognize the characteristics of Jesus through their friendship with me. Because I trust Jesus and believe He died for everyone, I can trust that the Lord will use my friendship and example to draw others to Him.

If you are following Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit guiding you. John 14:26 describes the Holy Spirit as our helper, sent from God, to help us remember all that Jesus said and did.

Jesus can, and did, change people immediately. But more often than not, change happens over time. When we’re discouraged because it feels like we’re not making a difference, remember this: If we can help someone take one step closer to Jesus, that’s progress. And we’re all in a state of progress.

As Christians, we have to trust that what God says is true. Jesus died for everyone and He is just as discontent — if not more so — to see that person living apart from Him. Romans 5:20 says that where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. No one is too broken or too far gone for God’s grace. Not even the person you’re ready to give up on.

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