“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:13,14).”
If there has been one mantra in the eight years Dr. Gregory House has been around to utter his philosophies it is,”People don’t change.” This is why the conclusion of the TV drama”House” was so suprising.
In the final episode House apparently is on a typical path to self destruction, except this time he seems to definitely intend to do himself in for good. This is so he can avoid having to go back to prison for violating his parole.
His suicide is apparently prompted also by the fact that he can’t be there in the last months for his dying friend, Dr. James Wilson, because he has to go back to jail. Wilson has five months to live and House’s remaining sentence lasts six.
As he lies on the floor of a burning warehouse, injured and stoned on heroin, House is arguing with an hallucination. Dr. Cameron, a former subordinate and love interest, is telling him that he is cowardly.
The Cameron in House’s mind is telling him that he is just debating with her as the place burns down around them to let the time pass so he doesn’t have to decide whether to get out and live or just pass on in the flames, as she is suggesting he does. (He’s earned the right to die and leave this world of pain, she has told him.)
“You’re afraid of this decision, and you are trying to argue until fate takes it out of your hands. You’re taking the cowardly way out. And worse… you’re too cowardly to even admit you’re taking the cowardly way out”, the imaginary Cameron tells House..
House replies,”You’re right. But I can change.” For someone like me who has watched the series for years, this statement comes as a shock. As noted above, this violates a major House life principle.
House stands up to go, yet apparently is too late. The flames seemingly engulf him.
However, as we viewers learn later, he has escaped out the back door. He has faked his death.
Wilson, giving a warped eulogy at House’s funeral, thinks at that point that House is dead by his own drugged out hand. House’s friend tells the funeral patrons:
“House was an ass. He mocked anyone —patients, co-workers, his dwindling friends — anyone who didn’t measure up to his insane ideals of integrity. He claimed to be on some heroic quest for truth, but the truth is, he was a bitter jerk who liked making people miserable. And he proved that by dying selfishly, numbed by narcotics, without a thought of anyone. A betrayal of everyone who cared about him. A million times he needed me, and the one time that I needed him…”
Those who have followed “House” over the years would wholeheartedly agree with Wilson’s summation of the curmudgeonly doctor’s character. However, even as he speaks he is getting a text from House that says,”Shut up you idiot.”
Wilson understands from the text that House is alive and well. He leaves the funeral and meets up with him. When Wilson sees House, he tells him:
You’re destroying your entire life. You can’t go back from this. You’ll go to jail for years. You can never be a doctor again.
House replies,”I’m dead, Wilson. How do you want to spend your last five months?”
The reason House has decided to go on and has engineered this whole circumstance is so he can be there for Wilson. For once, House does something completely out of character, unselfishly giving up his future and right to die (if he wanted to) for his friend. Apparently, people can change, at least according to the writers of this series, who have spoken the opposite through Gregory House for the last several years.
At least they posed the question. Their portrayal of Dr. House over the years does beg the question,”Can people really change?”
Pastor Bob Merritt was faced with this question when he was confronted by a leadership consultant hired by his church. Merritt had been ordered by his church board to undergo counseling by a man Merritt calls “Fred” as a condition of further employment.
Merritt had watched his church grow from 350 to several thousand in two decades. However, as he describes in his book “When Life’s Not Working”, his method of leadership was brusque and unrelational.
Merritt had to listen to Fred and his assistant read a two hundred page document bearing the results of interviews with friends, family and coworkers which revealed his faults. For two days.
Merritt told Fred, who worked around the country with numerous CEOS, “I don’t know if I can change”. Fred told him that statistically only 40% of his clients did. The other 60% percent stumbled on to things like lost marriages and careers.
“When Life’s Not Working” reveals that Merritt is one who did change. The key to it, he says, is humility: take the negative feedback you get seriously.
Merritt says two things drive people to consider change: fear and pain. Apparently Dr. House was confronted by both in that warehouse and decided to finally change.
Last week I was also debating with myself if I would ever change. I am not much older than Merritt, who is 53. When you get to this age, change is difficult.
I was fed up with my lack of progress in my character. As a Christian, I was hoping for much more transformation by this time.
I have had the chance recently to do a little gospel sharing with friends, and it occurred to me that I ought to share the gospel with myself to see if I was truly in the faith, or at least to help me review the fundamentals of Christianity.
So as I fought with myself over whether or not I could change, I did that. I sat on my sofa and reviewed some key principles:
* All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory , including me (Romans 3:23);
* The payback for sin is death, both spiritually and eventually physically (Romans 6:23);
* It is appointed for men to face God’s judgment after they die (Hebrews 9:27)
* God sent his Son Jesus to die for our sins so we wouldn’t have to face this judgment, proving His love (Romans 5:8);
* Jesus not only died, but He rose from the dead (I Corinthians 15:3-5);
* His resurrection is for me, too, if I accept it through believing in Him (John 11:25,26).
* Believing in Jesus means receiving Him and entering into his family (John 1:9,10);
* This salvation from my sins and death is not because of my performance, but is a gift that I need to accept by faith (Ephesians 2:8.9).
Jesus illustrated the nature of his salvation when some religious leaders brought him an adulterous woman. Here is the account from the Gospel of John:
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:2-11)
When I get to heaven I want to ask Jesus what he was drawing in the dirt. Some people think he was listing the sins of the religious leaders who were ready to condemn the adulterous woman.
I don’t know, but I am wondering if he was reminding Himself that we humans are indeed dust. This realization of that Jesus understands my frailties as a human being relieves my soul.
Although I want to pursue his command to “sin no more” and change, I am grateful that He cuts me some slack. This makes me love Jesus even more and want to become the best person I can be for Him.