How can I tell when someone's life has changed?

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How can I tell when someone's life has changed?

Jan 20, 2005 |J. Budziszewski
Question

I have a question that admittedly concerns my love life — I know you don't like that kind of question — though it has brought up questions about my faith. I've been seeing a man for several months, whom I met through a mutual friend. He's a great guy who regularly attends church and shares most of my beliefs. However, many of my friends have advised me not to see him any more because of things they discovered about his past.

They haven't met him yet, but they've found out is that he has a daughter from a previous marriage and was partially, if not mostly to blame for the divorce (he wasn't physically unfaithful, but "emotionally unfaithful"). With me, he was upfront about all this from the beginning. After the divorce — about a year ago — he recommitted his life to Christ. My friends don't believe he could change, and I realize I sound like a dumb and desperate woman claiming that he has. But if I can't believe God has changed his life, what does that say about my belief in the power of God? It seems like my friends are saying that once someone has sinned, he's irreparably messed up. Of course, in theory, they deny this — but, well, it just seems that they are being unfair to this guy by not considering who he is now.

I know that they only have my best interests at heart, but I'm so confused. What do you think? Am I searching for the answer I want to hear instead of searching for the truth? Am I being unfair to ask my friends to reconsider the guy once they meet him? Does God still change lives dramatically? And how can you tell when such a change is for real?

Answer

My dear, here is how to know whether the man has really changed. If he stops dating you and returns to the wife and daughter whom he has betrayed, then he has. If he doesn't, he hasn't.

This isn't about whether he's a great guy, because whatever greatness there may be in him is pledged to his wife, not to you. Don't you know what he promised her? "Until we are parted by death." And don't you know what Jesus taught? "What God has joined together, let no man separate." That means no woman either.

Copyright 2005 J. Budziszewski. All rights reserved.

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