The person I am speaking of, in all honesty, is myself. I used to be somewhat monstrous–throwing temper tantrums well up into my teenage years, disrespecting my parents, and just generally unkind to my family. (But if you asked people at my church at that same time, most would say I was very sweet.) This monstrous activity of mine was due to several heart issues. While none are an excuse to sin, I dealt a lot with anxiety, a little with depression, and a lot with feeling like a failure.
However, in the last 4 years, God has worked on my heart extensively. He has set me free! Over a year ago I used to not stand at all for the idea of kindly respecting and honouring my parents. Now, it is my heart’s desire to honour them just as I would an amazing preacher I greatly admire. It used to be that I blamed all my issues on my family, but God brought to my attention that my issues are my fault. I am responsible for responding instead of reacting. I am to walk in love, like Jesus.
I am still walking things out, like remaining calm when I feel overwhelmed, and loving people when I feel far from it. I am still meditating on the fact that Jesus lives in me, that I am a new creature, and the old has past, and I am free from the penalty and power of sin.
My advice to you, to the ones who are walking with someone trying to change. Be patient, wait for the Lord to act. Your anger, your unrighteous judgement, your put-downs, they do not help the heart that God is, in a sense, “performing surgery on.” When they screw up, make a mistake, or a bad decision, they desperately need you to remind them that they can change. Not by their own strength, but because God is their strength. Because the Creator of the universe lives inside of them. Because He will finish the good work He started in them. They desperately need prayers from you that say, “God, help them. Minister to their heart.” If you have the oppurtunity to speak into someone’s life and have them take it personally, make sure that you are speaking from the Father’s heart. This means your words will be truthful, honest, and loving. Essentially, they’ll line up with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As Kris Vallotton says, (if I’m not mistaken)
“The fruit of the Spirit is the love language of God.”
Alas, just because your words are from the Father’s heart, does not mean it will always inspire a loving reaction. When some people are in transition, they are extra sensitive, and conviction can hit sore spots. But do not worry, as worrying is the worst thing you can do. Pray and thank God for touching their heart, that they would realize who they are in Christ, and Jesus’ healing power would flow through.
When people are changing–they need lots of love. They need people who speak from the Father’s heart because it is only God who can reach their heart.