You’re Just Not Ready for Change

You’re Just Not Ready for Change

I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God. Exodus 9:30

In one of my early recovery attempts, I went to outpatient treatment, attended AA meetings, and got a sponsor. I felt I’d changed, and I was convinced that I’d never return to active addiction. I didn’t share this with anyone, but deep down, I knew I wasn’t ready to give up opioids and alcohol and I thought I could return to occasional use. I had no intention of going to meetings forever, which I relayed to my counselor and sponsor. They smirked a little at my attitude. It appears you’re not done yet. They both believed I was headed for a relapse, which really annoyed me. I did of course, relapse a couple more times, each time causing a greater disaster. They could see what I couldn’t. They could tell by my lack of commitment that I simply wasn’t ready for change. They didn’t give up on me, but they also didn’t hide their opinion. You’re just not ready yet.

This was Moses’ message to Pharaoh in today’s passage. In the story, God struck Egypt with a plague of hail as Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews go. In the misery of the plague, Pharaoh once again promised to release the Hebrews if God would relent. Moses said he’d ask God, but then he added this – I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God. Pharaoh promised he’d changed, but something about his attitude and behavior told Moses that he hadn’t yet experienced enough misery. Moses knew Pharaoh hadn’t truly changed and that he’d relapse into his old behavior once the plague was lifted.

We’ve all seen this. We’ve seen the guy who goes to jail, and in the misery, swears he’s reformed. Then, when he gets out, he goes right back to the old life. As maddening as it is to watch, most of us have also been there. Most of us have some behavior that we’ve sworn we’d stop. We’ve suffered some self-inflicted pain, and in our pain, we’ve promised change. Then, when life goes back to normal, we simply slide back into our old ways. You’re just not ready yet.

When, like Moses, we see someone who’s just not there yet, we may be tempted to write them off. They’ll never change. Giving up on them isn’t our only option though. We may continue, like Moses, to love them while speaking truth into their lives. Perhaps one day it will get through.

When, like Pharaoh, we’re stuck in a cycle of self-inflicted misery, we’ve got to ask ourselves this question – What would it take to stop? Then, we must do it. If we refuse, we’ll prove to others and ourselves, that we’re just not yet ready for change.

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