Mental shift

Manage your mind and you can manage your life

Principles, change and fear – oh my!

Posted by jytmkh on October 16, 2008

There’s a fine line, I think, between being principled vs stubborn, between being confident in yourself and fearing change. At that fine line, we learn something that disrupts our principles (or beliefs, assumptions, or worldview); instead of examining that disruption to determine if it’s a valid reason for us to change, we reflexively reject it because we can’t accept a change, or a challenge, to our principles. Instead of being secure in our confidence, we end up holding our ground because we’re afraid of what change may bring. That’s what came to my mind as I considered the Gospel reading for this Sunday:

Matthew 21:    28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.

As I read that I thought about the humility to accept change, and the discernment to see if that change is God’s will for us. Humility and openness to change are not one-time gifts or decisions we make that stick with us for a lifetime. Well, not for me anyway. I have to continuously cultivate them in myself. And it’s not easy because I’m very confident in my principles. Or am I stubbornly fearing change?

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