You’re NOT Going To Change Me!In a recent visit with a denominational preacher, it was noted that we have some real and serious doctrinal differences. "Would you be willing to discuss these in a friendly way?" I asked. He responded: "I'm not going to try to convert you, and you DEFINITELY aren't going to change me!" While the attitude he expressed is very common these days, we think it is wrong on several levels.
- This attitude certainly conveys the idea: "I'm right, and couldn't possibly be wrong." No one can afford to think that way. Consider Apollos (Acts 18). He was a well-educated man from a respected center of Biblical studies; he was an eloquent speaker; and he was highly committed to spreading his message (vs. 24-25). But when he arrived in Ephesus, two 'ordinary Christians' (Aquila and Priscilla) recognized his faulty understanding and reached out to him with help (vs. 26). To his great credit, he accepted their instruction, changed, and went on to be a faithful and effective preacher of the Word (I Cor. 3:4ff). That would have never happened if he had proudly said, "You DEFINITELY aren't going to change me!" Let us all be open to the reality that we just might be wrong, and if so we WANT to be instructed "in the way of God more perfectly."
- This preacher's response also suggests that he isn't really interested in ME! We differ. He acknowledges this. Yet he has no interest in changing my understanding. How can this be? If these differences are significant enough to provoke his 'you won't change me' reply, then they are surely important enough that he ought to want to change me. Yet, he says no. Out of love for my soul he should want to teach me (II Tim. 2:25), but he won't.
- His reaction to the offer to study our differences also shows that he is content to remain in a divided state. In so doing, he is directly counteracting the desire and prayer of Jesus that we be united (John 17:20 & 21)
His response was a common one, but it exposes some seriously wrong attitudes. Think!