We all have someone in our lives we could look back on and remember as someone we used to know. It may be a former love interest, a close friend, or a work associate. Depending on the relationship the memory of that person may or may not be a pleasant reminder. There are times it may even apply to self. I can remember a time when I was sitting in a local diner drinking coffee and talking with two acquaintances when one of the young men began to verbally attack his girlfriend. This young lady worked as a waitress in this diner. That it took place publicly was an embarrassment to all around. At the end of the verbal assault, the waitress now in tears and the angry young man having left the premises in haste, the other young man there with me said he didn't know that man. What man? The one that walked out. They actually knew each other for years, but a new side had been revealed for the first time.
I began to think of the contents of this article as I struggle with a problem that is personal as well as spiritual. It is personal because it involves me but also involves others of my family, both biological and spiritual. I started thinking of how people change as they go through life. Yet often those changes go unnoticed because people are separated by distance, or certain characteristics are kept hidden from loved ones. Sometimes characteristics are seen but ignored.
Have you ever received a bad report about someone and refused to believe it? We may want to believe only the best about people, and that's noble. Sometimes people change. I'm not suggesting we blindly believe everything we hear, regardless of the subject matter. But if there is a possibility a brother or sister is in sin, do we love them enough to make sure? Or are we content to say, "that's not the person I know." It may be true it is not the person you used to know, but people do change. Sometimes that change may happen right before our eyes and go unnoticed, if we allow ourselves to be blinded by past loyalties. Sometimes change will take place away from our view. Too many times reports are received based on someone we used to know, and not who (or what) the person has become.
James speaks of one who looks into a mirror, goes away and forgets what kind of person he was. This person has deceived himself for he has not changed what he saw in the mirror. He continues to do wrong because he did not look intently into the perfect law of liberty, God's word, which shows a reflection of one who saw a need to change and did so (Ja. 1:23-25). We can't just be hearers of the word, we must be doers. That means we have to be willing to change. Oftentimes even when one has been baptized change can happen over time that deceives the heart of the evil doer, while also staying hidden from the view of others.
But if we really believe in the sacrifice of Jesus, then we should truly be willing to change. To be the mirror image of Jesus demands that change from us, so that we may behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18), as He transforms us into His image from glory to glory. From our cleansing to become free from sin, to our glorious eternal home in heaven, it is God through Christ who transforms us. Let us not become blind to our own need to change, and let us not look blindly upon those around us who may be struggling in their spiritual lives. How sad it would be to one day hear the Lord say about us, "he was just someone I used to know." Rodger