Helping Each Other Through Change
by Rick Warren
“I hope you will be patient with me ….” (2 Corinthians 11:1a, NLT)
In order to manage change, you must remember four things –
Love each other
The first mistake most people make during change is to focus on what they’ve lost, instead of what has been gained – and that creates fear. The antidote to fear is love: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear ….” (1 John 4:18 NKJ)
It’s impossible for love and fear to exist in the same environment – If we’ll focus on loving each other, then we’ll break out of the self-centeredness that often emerges during change. The love that conquers fear involves thinking about others instead of focusing on your own needs – and the more you love, the less you fear.
Listen to each other
During transition, we must be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry ….” (James 1:19 NIV) If we get the first two right (quick listening, slow speaking), then the third (slow anger) will become automatic. It reflects the concept of “seeking to understand” before trying “to be understood.”
“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.” (James 1:19 MSG)
Level with each other
We must speak the truth in love to each other if we’re going to walk together through change. It is human nature to avoid confronting someone directly, but then we fall into problems – even gossip – by talking to other people about the person we need to confront.
We can’t get close to each other until we deal honestly with our fundamental differences. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15 NIV)
Liberate each other
Finally, we need to show each other grace – “cut each other some slack” – during transition. Liberating each other means letting go and treating someone else the same way Jesus treats you.
In other words, we shouldn’t lean into legalism or lording mistakes over others. People will make mistakes, and our response should be to recognize that these things will happen. The goal is not to make those who make mistakes feel bad, but rather to let them get over it and move on.