vital desire

I've been thinking about something I quoted yesterday:

Their learning frequently (I’m tempted to say 'always') depends... on their desire to learn.

My own experience supports this. And I'm immediately reminded of the similar 12-step teaching, that people need to want to change, and enter into the steps voluntarily.

The motivation has to come from within the person. So often I've seen (and experienced) frustrated efforts to help someone who doesn't seem to want to be helped. A waste of energy at best, and sometimes even harmful. "Pearls before swine," perhaps? But can anything be done to encourage people to desire the help they need? I've written before about how suffering the consequences of our own bad choices can help us admit our need for help. But this often takes a long time, and it's a painful process. Even to watch.

Often, though, I think this is what we have to do—let others make their own choices and suffer from them. But not punish them ourselves (though a rebuke may be in order from time to time). And always be ready to embrace them if they admit their need to change their lives.

I think this is what is expressed in these words of Jesus that I was reading this morning:
"I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day." (Jn 12.46-48)

"And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (Jn 3.19)
Though Jesus came to give light, he let people remain in darkness, let the darkness do its work on them, until they desperately wanted the light.