I was passively listening to an interview with Demi Moore on Good Morning America this week and something I heard has been lingering in my thoughts:
“…when you decide who someone is, you take away the opportunity for them to be anything else.”
I did a quick “file-sort” of individuals in my life- a friend, a family member, a student- wondering if this could be true. Have I “decided who they are” based on [you fill in the blank] history, faults, appearances, words, reactions, language, education, comments, texts…posts…pictures…? If I am honest, I believe I have.
I think this has happened in a close relationship that became strained because of emotional hurts and then a point of impasse. Perhaps out of self preservation, or perhaps out of pride, the distance grew. A feeling that circumstances won’t change and/or the other person won’t change, so estrangement took root. It might have been in that moment that I made a decision about who they are, but in that same moment I also took a step away from God and into my own self righteousness. I usurped God’s desire for changing circumstances or changing that person—and so often that person is me!
Have others in my life “decided who I am” and therefore taken away the opportunity for me to be anything else? Have my tendencies, shortcomings, weaknesses, poor choices, past wrongs, personality flaws, created an indelible impression of who I am and in the eyes of another, making it difficult for me to be anything else?
In our ministry, in our families, in our day-to-day relationships, are we deciding who people are? Are we discounting who they might become, could become, or are becoming by the grace of God? When we dismiss what is becoming, we may miss it. We might miss knowing what God really has in mind for that fragile friendship or relationship.
God’s Word has so much wisdom for us about relationships and judgement and forgiveness. But this one for today reminds me:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5 NIV
Lord, trusting my understanding without trusting You is reckless. Keep my heart tender and ever- always trusting Your purposes in my life and in the lives of those I love.