You will spend energy trying to get someone to change and more energy when they do not change in the time frame you want or expect. It creates stress and tension, and it's all because you try to do something that GOD DOES NOT DO! God does not make us change—He wants it, invites us to see how His way is best, but leaves it up to us to reject what is best for us!
Do you accept that others are free? Of course, there are clear examples and great reasons to limit others’ freedom that will be discussed later. For now, entertain the thought that you may be actually or mentally denying freedom to others.
Before going further, do you give people freedom? When you start learning about freedom, you may hear yourself say something like, "I am giving them freedom."
Well, that might imply you do not understand how freedom works. You can only give someone freedom when it is actually in your control. For example, you can give someone a goal to achieve, unlock their cell door, or give them your automobile keys to use your car.
But that is not giving them freedom in the way we are discussing it. People are already free to act however they want. That is not something you give. it is something you ACCEPT that is true.
You probably do not realize how much you try to control other people.
Are you mad at them without telling them? Are you discouraged, angry, depressed, or resentful when “They just don’t get it”? Are their poor values, bad decisions, or lousy thinking causing you to worry and fret? Perhaps you think, “They don’t realize how bad ‘that’ is and what ‘that’ does to them, the kids, and others (and ME)! Or “If they don’t get this corrected, [insert something terrible] will happen to them (and reflect on me)!”
That thinking denies the reality of their freedom to act badly, even sin, and experience the consequences. Of course, that is why you are trying to limit their freedom, so they will not experience the consequences. And, too often, you want to control other people’s lives for the wrong reason. If they change, then you can relax and be happy – at least for a little while.
You claim, “I’m only concerned. Isn’t that okay?”
If you answer yes, you may see sin in another person’s life; you know sin has consequences. If that is the case, you can hope, pray, and encourage, and perhaps exhort and rebuke. You do those things because you know God has asked you to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). You are not doing this to be the Jr. Holy Spirit in their life – you do it because it is pursuing their best.
Or, if your answer is no, it is more like you feel compelled to make them change. If true, that is where their behavior controls you. You are living in the Left Circle. You may have the right motive, hoping they change to not experience the consequences of the sin, but you see this as your responsibility – not God’s and theirs – to change their behavior. Be careful and be objective. Your ME flashing will remove objectivity every time.
Satan and your sin nature can take the beauty of grace and freedom and distort it. Please do not let that happen.