Accepting People the Way They Are
Joyce. For some reason, we all love the idea of changing the people around us. We want to change our kids, We want to change our coworkers. We definitely want to change our spouses. So let’s talk today about accepting people the way they are. Is that even something we can do, is it possible? Well, first of all, it’s interesting. We want to make everybody the way we are. That’s really true. God gives us all certain gifts, but we all have certain weaknesses. And he did that on purpose. Of course, God knows what he’s doing. He does it on purpose because that way we need each other. And so most people, let’s say in a marriage relationship, they’re married to somebody that’s really pretty much totally the opposite of them. That’s not always the case, but often, but often it is and many, many other people I know that are like that also. And uh, so you have a tendency to want people to be strong where you are and God puts you with people that are not like you. So you fill up each other’s weaknesses and Dave and I spent a lot of years, Well, I did it more than he did. I was trying to change him, change him, change him and for example, you know, he’s, he’s a little more laid back and I’m, well, it’s, you know, go get him, let’s let’s go, you know, type a aggressive, he’s a little more chilled out. And I remember I was nagging at him one day about you need to be more aggressive, You need to be this, You need to be that. And he said, you better be thankful that I am the way I am. Are you sure wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. And so that’s exactly right. And we we finally came to terms with were different and God did that on purpose and we it took it took years. But hopefully we can save some people some time. And how did you come to terms with it? Well, actually one day we finally just shook hands and I said, I agree to stop trying to change you. And he said, I agree to stop trying to change that. You actually should. We actually had made you see the thing is is people can’t change people. All you can really do is you can you can give them a bunch of laws and rules and tell them if if you don’t do this, then I won’t stay with you. And if you don’t do that then you’re not going to be my friend. And if you don’t do this, well, if that’s not a person’s temperament, no matter how much you want them to do that, let’s just say somebody that moves real slow. You know, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed. But something that moves real slow, if you try to get them to hurry, they slow down because it puts pressure on them and they go slower, go slower. Well, usually somebody who’s a little slower moving invariably will be married to somebody that’s like and and that person probably needs to slow down and we’ll usually, that’s that’s what it is. It’s like you need, you can use each other as an example. Like I finally realized Dave was so peaceful. Well finally he became an example to me of the piece that I could could have and people get divorces over this. Um it’s a big mistake to marry somebody thinking I’ll change you once we’re married because people resist people trying to put them into a mold. The bible says do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your mind. So transformation comes from the inside out, confirmation comes from somebody trying to stick you into a box that you don’t fit into. And so it’s really painful that when somebody always makes you feel like you’re not right. Yeah, it makes you feel rejected all the time. You know, if you have any insecurities, which most people do have some that just increases them all the more. And it’s amazing how we forget what we loved about the person to start with. You know, the thing that drew you to them probably was the fact that they were strong where you were weak. You just didn’t really realize what it was and you were there things that Dave could have been that way with you. Um but instead he let he let you be you. Well, I mean that’s the thing that, you know, Dave and I have been married 54 years now and we we’re not only are married and of course lived together, but we work together and so we are together together. I mean together and uh uh but Dave really, the thing that I appreciate about him probably more than anything else and there’s a lot of things, but he really, he lets me be me now, if I get a little too feisty, he won’t let me be disrespectful. You know, if he feels really strongly about something, no matter how much I don’t like it, he will do it anyway. But for example, I need time by myself and sometimes I’ll go away for as much as two weeks to write by myself. Well, somebody could say, well why can’t you write at home? You know? But he, we all have different needs and you need to be willing to meet the other person’s needs instead of expecting them to always meet your needs. And I came to what I would call like a crisis point where I either was going to accept Dave the way he was love him, the way he was our I was gonna have to get out of the relationship and obviously I didn’t want to do that. I loved him and we were in ministry together and I didn’t want to hurt other people and I basically made a decision that I was going to not focus on the one or two things that I didn’t like. And I was going to focus on all the many wonderful things about him. And I know somebody right now that’s in the process of talking about getting a divorce for this very same reason. They’re different and they keep trying to change each other and you just can’t do that. Now in saying that, let me say this. We have a God given temperament. And that’s what you can’t change. Our personality is a little different than our temperament. Our personality is a combination of our God given temperament, plus the things that happened to you as you’re growing up, like God gave me a temperament that I will always be aggressive. I’ll always be a quick decision maker. I’ll probably always talk a little more than maybe it’s the best thing in the world. But then being abused as a child perverted some of those character traits. And so I became not just a strong personality, but a rebellious personality. So when I say, we got to accept each other the way we are. I don’t I don’t mean that you accept the sinful part of people and just say, well, that’s okay, you know, it’s right. Yeah. I realize that you’re an alcoholic and it’s just fine. You know, that’s right. So you’re saying there are things we do not accept. Yeah. There are things that you do not accept and you may have to tell the person. You either have to get some help or you know, I can’t stay with you. I don’t think you should let somebody disrespect you and mistreat you and abuse you. Like my mother let my dad slap her around and talked down to her and and in the process she let him do a lot of things to me that she should have protected me from. That’s not the kind of thing I’m talking about. I’m talking about accepting the God given parts of people that may be are very different than you, but that doesn’t make them not valuable, right? But it’s very much the same with our Children as well, right? Are we? We have Children with very different temperaments and personalities and we have to let them be them. But at the same time guide them and see what God does with them. So that’s hard to sometimes and you have to be willing to have different relationships with your Children as they grow and mature. Very true. You know when you have adult Children, one of the things that ruins relationships with adult Children is not realizing that they are now adult, there are your Children but they’re not little kids that you still tell what to do all the time. And you you have to learn that this is just a blunt way to say it. You have to learn how to keep your nose out of their business unless they invite you into it now. You know, I have four grown Children and some of them are just fine. If I give them my opinion and some of them aren’t so fine. So you have to learn how to, you have to learn how to meet people where they’re at instead of expecting everybody to meet you where you’re at, you have to learn that. It’s that it’s God gives people permission to be who they are. Even God won’t, God won’t try to control people. Control is a form of witchcraft, you know? And so God won’t try to control us. He’ll suggest things to us, but he doesn’t push it off on us and make us do things the way that he wants us to do them. And so if we can see the beauty in the differences that we have rather than thinking, well, there’s something wrong with you because you’re not like me, because really the differences that we have are beautiful and it’s what makes it’s what makes the world work. You know? Can you imagine if everybody in the world was just like me or just like you’re just like it wouldn’t be good and really we you really wouldn’t want to be married to somebody that was just exactly like you. It would be super boring. I remember one girl telling me one time her and her husband were both real strong, uh what you would call phlegmatic, easygoing, laid back people and she said we never fight, but we don’t get anything done either. You know, it’s uh or if you have to really strong Taipei’s, I’m not saying it can’t work, but you have to really know how to give each other space and how to how to respect that personality. And I think one of the things that is really needs to be looked at before you get married and if you haven’t done it, you really need to get some information, read some information, read some books about the God given different temperaments and it is so helpful and how they are because that that was a lifesaver for me when I read those books and learned that everybody just is different and that it’s God’s will and that it was very offensive even to God for me to keep trying to change everybody. It’s such a point of pride to think that you’re the one that’s right about everything and everybody should be like you. And so you’re right. It is a great suggestion. And I think seeing you and Dave walking through this teaches us really a lot. It’s possible we can put that pride down. We can accept people the way that they are right and see God work through it, bring good things into both of our lives. Exactly. And so they can heal relationships today.