Numbers 14:11 (NIV) The LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?
You know that it’s got to be pretty serious when even the All-Knowing and Eternal God gets frustrated. Think about it…God had been almost dead-quiet during the 400 years of Israel’s slavery. The relational “norm” between God and Israel was…silence.
Then suddenly, God comes down, appearing through the vision of a burning bush to Moses…a guy who had murdered a man back in Egypt, in order to carry out the Great Commission to set Israel free and lead them to the Promised Land.
God went from quietly tolerating the sufferings of His people to throwing down 10 Plagues, killing the Pharaoh’s firstborn, to opening the Red Sea, drowning the soldiers, providing Manna to eat, and even bursting water out of rocks. God went from being His quiet self, to leading the Israelites with a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. God was quiet… but now it seemed that He had a lot to say…hence the Torah.
By all intents and purposes one could say that God CHANGED.
God’s presence was manifested for all to see and everyone was benefiting from His miraculous providence, but regardless of what God did or said, His people remained obstinately cleaving to their idolatry, immorality, gluttony and greed. In fact, instead of the Israelites being inspired by God’s effectual change, the Israelites dug in their heals in their modus operandi, while taking advantage of God’s providential care.
One could say that psychologically, the Israelites felt as if God owed them reparations for the previous 400 years of silence, and that no matter what He provided, said or did, that they were determined to remain the same, regardless of the consequences.
You know that there’s a problem when people around you praise you for your changes… while digging in their heels and expecting that you tolerate… or cater to their dysfunctions. No matter how much you share the philosophy and discipline that changed your innermost core, they remain the same…
Then the arguments come with the temptations to go back to the old ways that you no longer care for, due to discouragement and emotional pain. No matter what you say, it always boils down to this one “truth” that is projected upon you… It’s YOUR FAULT.
Those of us who have changed our core beliefs and modus operandi, sometimes forget that nobody changed us. Change, repentance and reformation are intrinsically rooted upon the will of the individual. In other words… you changed, not because God forced the proverbial magical banana down your throat. You changed because you willed it.
They don’t change (and most likely never will) because of the following fundamental, psychological truths:
1. They love their addictions and dysfunctions more than you.
2. They like being who they are and find identity in their dysfunctions.
3. They crave emotional dominance over you and revel in causing your distress.
4. They like thinking that you are the cause for their problems.
If you want to continue growing in your personal reformation, you need to understand that (like in the case of the Israelites) no matter what you do, say, or achieve…that they will never change, unless they will it.
Like God, you might have to make the ultimate decision to leave such persons in the proverbial desert. They do not want to enter the Promised Land with you.
You know the path to the Promised Land of peace, spirituality, joy and communion with God. You know where you’re going, but they keep on dragging you back to the desert. Like in God’s case, you might have to leave them to die in their deserts and move on.
Oh yes, one more thing… Don’t be surprised to see them change once you’ve left them behind. They did not want to change with you… They wanted to change without you, while scapegoating you for their dysfunctions. In order to progress spiritually, you must be like The Lamb of God, accept the blame, and move on…
But regardless of their psychotic, theatrical change, you must continue on your authentic path towards the Promised Land, and not look back. Your LIFE is precious and you only get this one chance to be the better YOU that you know that you are… regardless of what the stiff-necked say.
Take comfort in this… that whatever change they exhibit for the better (whether they admit it or not), will eternally be attributed to you in God’s eyes; and you will be duly rewarded with the Promised Land.