Some friends and I were discussing a celebrity breakup one day. The celebrity we were talking about goes from one super model or famous actress to the next, as if he gets tired of them and replaces them with the next hot, young thing. One of my friends blurted out, “Well, you know how it is, tigers don’t change their stripes. Men don’t change.” Most of the other ladies wholeheartedly agreed with her. How sad is it that in a room full of women, most believe men don’t change? On the way home, I couldn’t help thinking about the stripes analogy. I decided we really need to come up with a new analogy. In my experience, men (and women) can and do change, if they have the right change agent.
Every year I teach my students about caterpillars and butterflies. We always read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The hungry, little caterpillar eats through all kinds of things, including lots of junk food. On each page, he gets bigger and bigger. When he is ready, he forms his chrysalis. Before opening the last page, the students predict what will happen. Most of them already know. I turn to the very last page, and there is one of Carle’s beautiful illustrations of a butterfly. The students shout “He turned into a butterfly!” They all beg me to read it again. I have a hunch as to why they love this story so much. It’s not just the illustrations, the simple words, or their love of all things life science. They love the changes taking place. They love how a hungry caterpillar can become a beautiful butterfly. I love this story, too. It’s a great illustration of 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” Before Christ, we are that hungry, little caterpillar looking for anything to satiate us. We become fuller and fuller with all the junk in life. When we surrender to Christ and want to change, he becomes our chrysalis or change agent. The old passes away and we become a new creation, just like Carle’s beautiful butterfly.
If God can take a lowly, hungry caterpillar and give it the ability to change into a gorgeous, majestic butterfly, how much more can he do with us? What could he do with our spouse?
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