God Creates Tough Warriors
Many say that the best way to change people is to change people is to change their environment. That the reason for their behavior is friends, people they know, what they were taught...
Everything else.... except for the individual...
Yet what happens when the person does some terrible crime? Do we punish society? Do we point the blame at someone else?
It's the individual that takes the blame.
It's as if we know that the individual is the one to blame, when "justice" gets involved. But in some way when "mercy" is in the mix, we blame everyone else.
Is that really "mercy", or just us trying to be "nice" and spare someone's feelings?
God on the other hand has a different view on it: The individual is responsible. And that's where change begins. In the heart. At the core:
The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. …
Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men [and women] can change the world.
He starts with the individual, and
- Loves them.
- Sees the best, but also shows them their weakness, so they can grow
- Loves them. Helps them to grow.
- Gives them knowledge and understanding, and makes them accountable
- Keeps on loving them when they stumble.
- Is always there, waiting, hoping, but giving them their agency (and the consequences of choices)
- Forever loving, whether that person is good, or bad.
See, God wants what's best for the person. Not what "feels nice".
So I heard a comment about the Lord of the Rings. Someone said "Gandolf could have saved everyone a lot of heartache if he had just had the eagles fly Frodo to the mouth of the volcano, so Frodo could have just dropped the ring into the volcano. End of story."
(It's actually wouldn't have been that easy, as the eagles could have succumbed to the power of the ring, and the area was guarded, and Sauron would have seen them flying very far in the distance and thus have time to prepare, using his many methods to deceive them, but anyways ....)
It's obvious to see what would have been gained from this: lots of lives saves. Lots of destruction avoided. But what would have been lost? Many people would have remained ordinary and lots of growth would have never have happened. Many friendships (and relationships) would never have been kindled.
Now, this depends on our perspective. If we only view this extreme effort and the hardships that everyone had to endure, we may be persuaded to believe that it would have been better for everyone if the ring had been destroyed as quickly as possible.
But if we view the people involved, and the quality of the people that each possibility would have given, it tells a lot more. If the ring was destroyed in the beginning, people would have gone on with their lives, staying staying exactly as they were. It was only because of the hardships that many people changed and improved into better people.
Only when the effort to change is less then the effort to remain the same, will we be willing to change.
God is the same with us. When things get hard, when it's easier to change that stagnate, when we see a reason, then we improve ourselves. (And if you don't rely on these things to tell you when to improve, you're doing great!)
And He does this from the inside out. He makes solders and warriors who are them able to take on the battle, because they are strong.
He makes them equal to the task.