Changing our minds | WORLD
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Changing our minds

Some examples are significant, and some significantly costly

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Reserving the right to change your mind is one of the great treasures of life.

I’m not talking here about the trifling issues of life. I remember all too well the snit we got into in fourth grade over whether Lee Hand’s father had done the right thing when he sold his International Harvester tractor and bought a bigger and better John Deere. If he had just asked me, I might have saved Lee’s father considerable cost and bother.

Lots and lots of issues being debated these days by the American public are just about that trivial. But some are far from it. One, for example, has prompted Tricia Cotham, a 10-year Democratic veteran of the North Carolina House of Representatives, to move her credentials to the Republican Party. That’s what you call changing your mind!

The Cotham party switch solidified Republicans’ grip on this year’s edition of the North Carolina General Assembly, giving the GOP a veto-proof majority.

But the questions come to mind: Just how could Rep. Cotham know that she had been wrong before but is right now? Why should the citizens of the area around Charlotte, N.C., have confidence now that the woman they heard endorsing the Democratic Party just a few months ago has got it right now as a Republican?

Cotham says, “I am not leaving the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party has been leaving me. I ­simply don’t recognize it anymore.” Rep. Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, told The Carolina Journal, “Tricia Cotham has been someone who is reasonable, who is moderate, who we’ve been able to work with in this session. Her principles and her views have not changed. What has changed is the Democratic Party in North Carolina.”

North Carolina is the third state where Republicans have gained supermajorities. The Tar Heel State joins Wisconsin, which gained a supermajority when a Republican won a special election, and the Louisiana state House, which gained a supermajority after a Democratic defection.

But enough of this kind of politics—important though it is. Mind changing is happening on many fronts—some of them crucial. If you might have missed it, be sure to go back and read Jill Nelson’s cover story in WORLD’s March 25 issue about the rising rate of conversions from Islam to Christianity. Here is mind changing of the highest order.

In some countries this change of mind becomes very costly. Take, for example, a recent report in The Voice of the Martyrs from Niger about a young man who was training to become an imam when he had a dream about Jesus. When he told the dream to his imam and later to his father, he was told not to tell anyone. His father said, “Remember what happened to Joseph when he dreamed and he told his brothers.” Then his father sent him away to study in a secular school. While there, he was invited to a church service.

He attended for all the wrong reasons, but when he heard the pastor speak about how Jesus can appear to people in dreams, he was unnerved and vowed never to attend church again. But feeling confused and ­conflicted, he returned the next Sunday and a year later returned home to tell his father he had become a Christian.

His father was incensed and, calling the rest of the family to a meeting, announced that Hanafi was no longer part of the family. That, as we said, is changing your mind in a big-time way with severe consequences. But Hanafi’s pastor had prepared him for the persecution he would face by sharing Matthew 10:33: “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

Being discipled by a mentor, his passion for evangelism has kept growing. Now his testimony is, “The more you are persecuted the stronger you’ll be in Jesus. For me, persecution is part of growth.” His prayer is to be used by God to reach Muslims whom he longs to see make a similar change of mind.

Joel Belz

Joel Belz (1941–2024) was WORLD’s founder and a regular contributor of commentary for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Radio. He served as editor, publisher, and CEO for more than three decades at WORLD and was the author of Consider These Things. Visit WORLD’s memorial tribute page.


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