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Put Down the Ax – Give People Room to Change

Put down the ax. Yeah, I’m talking to you. Well, maybe not you, but you’ll know who you are in a few more lines.

The other day someone posted a video of Justin Bieber in one of the groups I’m in. I’m not really a Bieber fan. I couldn’t tell you any of his songs, but I did happen to know the song he was singing in the video. It was Awesome God by my very favorite singer/songwriter of all time, Rich Mullins.


I guess Bieber did okay. Of course, I would like that song even if a dog barked it, so I wasn’t really judging the singing icon’s performance. Everything was fine and dandy until I read the comments below the post. They were mean, cutting, and self-righteously awful. And I felt a little bad for the millionaire pop star.

Something in your eyeSure, he’s made mistakes. He’s be involved with drugs, and tantrums, and well, I don’t really know exactly cause I’m not really a fan, but I do know that getting stuck in a place by others’ opinions of you stinks.

What if he wanted to change?

What if he really was praising God?

What if every time he tried to do the right thing, someone put him down and insinuated that he would never change?

I’m not a therapist, but my guess would be that feedback like this might make it harder for him to break away from his past and start anew. If everyone’s just going to expect him to fail, then….

Now, hold my rose-colored glasses for a minute, while I get up on a soapbox. There’s a lesson for us all here, and it’s pretty simple.

Stop ripping one another apart. Love people. Love.

I don’t think a single person commenting on that video post said what they did out of love. (Of course, who am I to judge) Anyway, the point isn’t to tear those people down either. The point is that maybe if we tried loving others and believing in them, then maybe they’d have the room they need to grow and change.

Try building one another upMaybe if we were really honest we’d see that we, too, are messed up and broken and in desperate need of mercy and grace from an awesome God. We’d offer words of hope because we have seen in our own lives how having someone believe in us has made a difference. We’d do what Jesus told us to do—make disciples, love our enemies, and feed his sheep. We’d build instead of tear down.

People can change.

God transforms us from the inside out, and he uses us as examples of hope and faith and to show what can happen to a person who is loved just the way she is. So let’s put aside that ax and grab a hold of the watering can and get busy. There’s someone out there who needs to know his life can be different—filled with hope and love and peace and more.

What do you think?