I’m sure we’ve all heard this lovely idiom? And for the smarty pants out there….no the canine leopard cannot change its spots – this is figurative! Ok back to writing mode…in case you didn’t know, the saying basically means “…a person cannot change; no matter how hard they try.” I guess I could just end the blog at the full stop; however you must know me well enough by now to know that to every title, there is a deeper meaning. So let’s dive in!
I think at some point in our lives, once or many times someone has screwed us over, torn our hearts out and stomped on it or just let down so badly we shiver at the memory of it. At that moment in time we may have thought what that person – “spawn of satan” did was so cruel, they’re never going to change! Or an example more personal, you’re dating someone and there’s one niggling habit this person has that just itches away at your soul!!!! He/She may be a compulsive liar, super untidy, lazy bum, a cheat, has poor money management etc and you’re like – “I’m done, this person will NEVER change!” These are all valid points to dismiss someone…to an extent but let me ask you this, how would you feel if your current partner/boss/friend judged you based on your persona of 5-10 years ago? That would seem a tad bit unfair right?
I’ve always said that NEVER is a strong word and I also believe that a) only God has the power to change a person’s nature b) a person can only change IF they desire to, not just to please others. So with this type of mentality, I try to keep an open mind. A person who was a roadman, rebel, gossip or even a bully could be the loveliest, friendliest person 5-10 years later and you could miss out on that side of them if you permanently carry their old image in your mind. You may argue that they hurt you, this may be true but if they are sincerely apologetic and are a reformed character what is your hate/bitterness/unforgiveness going to do for you? Nothing but burden and stress you out! I don’t want to undermine or make your feelings inferior but I just want to genuinely inform you that everyone deserves a second chance if they have demonstrated that they have changed. I mean from a Christian perspective “…God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us whilst we were still sinners,” Roman 5:8, this is a next level type of love and mercy, which we can all show with the help of the holy spirit. I’m not saying we need to be friends with someone who disappointed/hurt us but allow them the room to be that new creation they want to be – clean slate – look to their future and not their past.
So my encouragement and word for you today is, keep an open mind. Let us not keep hold of the past but rather fully embrace the present and be hopeful for the future. People can surprise you in negative AND positive ways, let us not let one or even a couple of past experiences corrupt our mind-set. Life is short and there are a lot of “bad” trees that have been pruned and are now able to bear good fruit, let us try taking a bite, you might like the taste! J