Can a person change?

I’ve been thinking a lot in these days about the possibility of genuine and deep-seated change taking place in the life of an individual.

Is it possible for what our ancestors in the Christian faith called ‘repentance’ and ‘amendment of life’ to take hold of a person and really re-make them into a new creation?

I must say I may have been looking in the wrong place for the answers, having been drawn in these past days to the Jewish wisdom book of Ecclesiastes – Qohelet – the Teacher.

His direct, no nonsense understanding of this anthropological dilemma is summed up in one pithy phrase – ‘the crooked cannot be made straight.’

In other words, bad habits, compulsive and addictive patterns of behaviour and what used to be called ‘sin’ are forever in the hearts of those who practise them.

Beauty cannot come from chaos.

Or do we know different? What is our personal experience of change, of amendment of life?

3 thoughts on “Can a person change?

  1. I believe yes, but it takes a lot to do it. Time, effort and true penetance.
    Then there’s the correcting of mistakes.

    Although I think it depends what the “sin” is to be honest.

  2. Of course we can change! Where would our hope lie, otherwise? Although I believe we cannot “lift ourselves up by the bootstraps.” God changes us when we are ready and when we cooperate.

    My personal experience is that praying for God’s will to be done, praying for God to change me, has resulted in change. I find myself less selfish, less quick to anger, more focused on God and the other, than in the past. It is not my doing!

    If sin were forever in the heart, then what is the point of Jesus? There would be no hope, we may as well give up.

    Also, I’ve been reading Ruth Burrow’s Ascent to Love and she makes the point clearly, and it makes sense, that personality defects are not “an obstacle to union with God.” So, bad habits, compulsive and addictive patterns of behavior—which can be seen as personality defects—do not keep us from God in the long run (though they may provide temporary stumbling blocks).

    I’m sorry this is so long. . . .

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