Esther Harding: Change


“But we cannot change anyone else; we can change only ourselves and then usually only when the elements that are in need of reform have become conscious through their reflection in someone else.”

-M. Esther Harding, The I and the Not-I, Daily Quote, July 16, 2018, InwardOutward, Church of the Saviour

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Esther Harding describes this concept of how we change so concisely. We most often only recognize the parts of ourselves that need changing reflected in others.  We say, “This is awful. I certainly do not want to be like that.” Then by some unknown factor, perhaps God’s Grace, we realize, that character defect, that sin, that failing is also in us. I often find myself not wanting to be around that person. That is sometimes a clue that they are carrying that part of us we do not recognize but  are repulsed by it.

The opposite of this is of course true. People we most admire  carry a gift we do not recognize in ourselves as well.

I also know from 12 step work how people change. They reach what is called a bottom. They become so overwhelmed with their life, so “sick and tired” of how miserable their life is that they will do anything to change.

So, what does all this have to do with our life in the Spirit? My experience is that it is indeed the Spirit, the Christ, the God within us that leads us to change, that whispers in our ear that those defects in others may be in us, that there is a better life planned for us. Those is 12 step call it a “moment of clarity.” I believe that moment of clarity is God speaking to us and for many reasons we are now in a position to listen. We are able to listen with “the ear of our heart.”

Joanna  joannaseibert