Why are some people so mean-spirited? My brother was always mean when we were growing up, and now that he's older he hasn't changed. He's on his fourth marriage now, and his new wife is finding out what the rest of us already knew about him. Do people like this ever change?


Yes, sometimes people like this do change–and they can change, with God’s help. Saul of Tarsus hated those who followed Jesus and was determined to stamp them out–but God changed his mean-spiritedness into love. As the Apostle Paul he spent the rest of his life urging others to follow Jesus.

Unfortunately, however, the older a person gets the less likely they are to change–or to allow God to change them. Jeremiah said about the people of his day, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jeremiah 13:23). Eventually, God brought judgment on them because of their refusal to listen to God and repent.

Pray for your brother–and pray for his wife, as well. Ask God also to give you an opportunity to confront your brother about his problem–not harshly or judgmentally, but in love. Don’t just tell him what you see wrong, but point him to Christ. Down inside, he is not a happy person, and he needs to face his problems and open his life to Christ’s transforming power.

We can’t change ourselves–but God can, if we will only let Him. Remember Jesus’ words: “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). It’s true for your brother–and it’s true for you also. What is Christ doing in your life?