How can I tell when someone’s life has changed?
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?
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.
About the Author
Professor J. Budziszewski is the author of more than a dozen books, including How to Stay Christian in College, Ask Me Anything, Ask Me Anything 2, What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide, and The Line Through the Heart. He teaches government and philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin.