You Can’t Change People…Stop Trying

“You need to release the load that God never meant for you to carry, and focus on what He has called you to do.” ~Unknown

I tried and tried. It seemed, no matter how hard I tried, I always failed. Why wasn’t I making an impact? Why wouldn’t they listen to me?

I wanted God to do something, but I didn’t give Him the chance. Instead, I took things into my own hands and tried to do it all myself.

I remember back when I was younger, a boy teased me nonstop. It was as if his goal was to make me upset. Did I like it? Not one bit.

Now, I could give him a piece of my mind. I could tell my parents about it. But there wasn’t anything I could do to change him.

As I got older, however, I found myself in different and more complex situations. 

There was a girl who, desperately, wanted someone to love her. She looked in all the wrong places, but they left her empty and alone. I wanted to do something, but I felt helpless.

Even though I gave her advice and encouragement, she kept on falling back into the same cycle. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t making a difference in her life.

I felt like I had failed- until I realized a staggering truth: I can’t change people.

I think of all the time I spend trying to change the people around me. Maybe they make big mistakes. Maybe they’re rude or irritating. Maybe they’re ready to give up on God.

The fact is, I can’t change their hearts. And, neither can you.

God never told us to change people. He never told us to force things on them or try to get them to live perfect, flawless lives. He told us to love.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)

When we seek to change people, we only give ourselves a burden that was never meant to be ours, in the first place. We will fail because God is the only one who can truly change a person.

That doesn’t mean we can’t set up boundaries or confront each other. In some cases, those things need to be done. But there isn’t any sense in working to change someone we simply can’t change.

“You need to release the load that God never meant for you to carry, and focus on what He has called you to do.” (unknown)

I love that quote! We take on burdens that were never meant to be ours and then we blame God for things not working out.

If we simply release those burdens and focus on what God has called us to do, He would have an opportunity to do His job.

Maybe if we stopped trying to change each other and started loving one another more, real change could take place.

What can we do? What if we know someone who really does need a spiritual heart transplant?

1. Pray for them.

Intercessory prayer works! When God places a burden on our heart for someone, it can make all the difference if we start praying constantly for them.

It even helps us to remember that God is the one in charge of the heart. By taking it to Christ, through prayer, we acknowledge the fact that the situation belongs to Him.

2. Love them.

This doesn’t mean we have to be best friends. However, it does mean that we need to continue to show them God’s love. Boundaries may need to be set up. Confrontation may need to take place.

Some people may be easier to love than others, but if we truly want to see change in that person, it’s time to give that burden to the Lord and focus on what we’re called to do: love.

You can’t change people…stop trying. Let God do the heart work. He’s the best one for the job.

Challenge: Choose one person you want to see change in and pray for them everyday this week.