I’ve spent a lot of time on Facebook recently, reconnecting with old friends. We’ve all changed since we knew each other offline. We’ve grown up, married, had children, changed careers. But the essential cores of my old friends remain the same. I might not recognize them if I saw them on the street, but I still know them. In some cases, I can predict old friends’ comments on status updates, even if I haven’t seen those friends in person for more than a decade. In many cases, I am certain that if miles didn’t separate us, we would be able to get together for dinner and feel as if we had not been apart for more than three days.
In conjunction with our pastor’s two-part sermon on being new in Christ, these experiences make me wonder what it is that makes us who we are. Genes and environment, yes, but it’s something more than that. A person who becomes new in Christ changes his or her actions and way of thinking, but close friends would still recognize that person as the one they know and love. Fred might “change completely” when he becomes a believer (or even meets a new girl), but he’s still essentially Fred and not Bob or Jerry.
As we become more like Christ, how much of us has to change before we’re unrecognizable? And does that ever happen? How much of me will always be me, even when I’m made perfect in the next life?
I have more questions than answers here, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.