No. 38

Several years ago I met a wonderful man by the name of Winston K. Pendleton, who, before he passed away, lived in Windermere, Florida. "Win" as his friends called him, has written over 20 books, a newspaper column and for many years was a much sought after public speaker. The reason I'm sharing this with you is because Win helped me so much that I considerd him to be my mentor. While you probably have never heard of this man, I believe it's important to pay tribute to those individuals who have helped us along the way. It's possible to become highly successful in this country without a lot of formal education, but no person ever achieves success without the help of others.
As I said earlier, Win was my mentor and one of my favorite stories that I've heard him tell is about a man who worked for a lumber yard. It seems that this man had worked there for about 25 years and during this period of time whenever he needed some lumber for a project at home or to help a neighbor, he would just take it without paying for it. Well, one night during a revival service at his church, this man got saved and soon thereafter, his conscience began to bother him. He said to himself, "Oh, Lord, what am I going to do?" Then he remembered that the Catholic church has a confessional booth where you can go and confess your sins to a priest and never be seen. Well, this seemed like the right thing to do, so he made the necessary arrangements and went into the booth and confessed. When he finished, he said to the priest, "Father, is that all there is to it?" The priest said, "No, you can't get off quite that easy. Did you ever make a novena?" The man thought for a moment and then said, "No, but if you've got the plans, I know where I can get the lumber."
While this is not a true story, it certainly makes a very valid point. Permanent change in our nature, even after we have been saved, is not easy. A person who is inwardly a crook is just waiting on another chance to steal. As it relates to what I am saying, have you ever really thought about the word "nature?" Our nature, according to the dictionary is "the intrinsic or inherent character of a person or thing." In other words, it's our natural instincts we are born with. A good example is that a baby cries when he or she gets hungry.
You may not agree, but as a Christian, I believe because of the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, man was eternally sentenced to a nature of sin. It's just "human nature" to lie, to cheat, to steal, to commit adultery, to lust or to fight back and try to get even when someone has wronged us. The way to change human nature can be found in the Bible where it is recorded in II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things passed away, behold, new things have come.”
Of course, our environment also has a great impact on our lives. Children who are taught character values by adults who set a good example have tremendous advantages over those who are not. In recent years, psychologists have determined that a person's attitudes and character values are pretty well established at a very early age. So, back to my statement, "permanent change in our nature is not easy." This is the reason a person can have all kinds of educational credentials but still wind up in prison if they lack character and integrity. Hopefully you will give some thought to what I’m saying here because, depending on your needs, it could make a wonderful difference in your life. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)