Monday, September 16, 2013

Change is Difficult

Change is Difficult
By Joe Chesser

    Changes are hard to make, and this is true in almost every area of life.  When a new coach is hired, the changes he brings with him are difficult to implement for the players who were trained by the previous coach. A new boss runs into the same problems when he tries to “improve” the business. The way a new preacher does things is usually compared to the ways of the previous preacher. The “new” is often resisted simply because it is different.  Change is difficult.
    This is even true in small things.  You’d think that little changes should be easy to make, but they’re often the most difficult.  Our school’s policy for using strobe lights on the school buses has been the same for years. Strobe lights were to be used only in fog or when visibility was very difficult, and then only when stopped to load or unload children. But the school administrator made a change this year.  In the mornings when the buses leave the bus lot before sun-up the strobe lights are to be on.  That was easy enough, but when are they to be turned off?  Well, that’s where the change became difficult.  Some thought they should be turned off when the sun came up and visibility was excellent. Others thought the strobe lights should be left on until the bus returned to the bus lot. So in the mornings some bus drivers were running their strobe lights in the bright sun light while others had turned them off.  Finally, a directive had to come from the administrator that strobe lights must be on when the buses leave the lot in the mornings and should not be turned off until the buses returned to the lot.  Nonetheless, change is difficult.
    If we can understand the difficulty bus drivers and football players have with changes in policy and practice, we should also have an idea why change was so difficult for the Jews after Christianity replaced Judaism. The things they had been taught and had practiced for centuries had changed.  Not only had the details of the Law been changed, but also who God accepted as His people had changed. The Law delivered by Moses was no longer valid.  The teaching of Jesus had replaced it (Hebrews 1:1-2).  In the past only the Jews were God’s special people, but now in Christ people from any nation can be God’s special people (1 Peter 2:9-10).  Still, change is difficult.
    Understanding the difficulty of change should also help us have patience with those struggling to accept the truth of the gospel.  A person whose family for generations had been taught that baptism is not essential for salvation will find the truth difficult to accept and practice.  The same principle is true with any erroneous teaching deeply entrenched in the minds of people.  Even when one learns what is true, change is difficult.
    God knows how difficult change is for us.  Peter tells us, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  Since God is patient with us, shouldn’t we be patient with others?  Even so, change is difficult.

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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