We don’t like people to change, because their witness
to change challenges us to change. And so in our
families, we often become each other’s worst enemies
in the struggle to change and grow.
For example, when people are trying to change, they
are trying to leave their past behind for a better and
brighter future. In order for them to achieve this, they
must keep their focus fixed on the change they wish to
achieve. Often, however, we become uncomfortable
when we see a family member changing, because this
change reminds us of our own need to change. We try
to justify or defend ourselves, even though the person
changing is not attacking us.
We often resort to reminding the person who is trying
to change of his mistakes in the past. Over and over
again we remind that person of things he said or did
somewhere along the way. Through this useless comparison,
we convince ourselves that we are not really so
bad after all. But in doing so, we are missing the one
distinguishing point: the other person is now trying to
change and grow, and we are not.
The worst part of all is that by bringing up the person’s
past over and over, we take that person’s mind off
the changes he is trying to make in his life and place it
back on the things he is trying to eliminate. Thus, we
make it much harder for this person to change.
Placed together on this earth in families, we are
meant to lead each other toward our common goal. We
are meant to help each other love God and grow to fulfillment.
When we do not share the same goal or when
we are lukewarm in these ambitions, we tend to prevent
those around us from achieving their potential.
Encouragement is what family life is about. We are
all on the same journey, and more often than not we just
need a little encouragement from the people we love.
From A Call to Joy
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