I couldn’t resist the title just so I could feature Laguna, my cute little Valentine. But it’s more than that. I’m posing the question – can a leopard change its spots?
The past couple of weeks with competing movies. One about an abusive boyfriend and the other a reformed bad boy turned good guy. For all of it’s faults, the first movie has put a focus on women being in bad relationships, even abusive ones. I’m so glad this topic has come to light.
The archetype of the “Bad Boy” is a popular. But what is the appeal of bringing home a guy like that? His wealth, success, or attractiveness make up for it? Rebellion? A need to control? A need to fix something? Or maybe that the woman thinks she doesn’t deserve any better.
One reason women like bad boys is because they want to be the ones to change them, tame them, turn them good. But no woman can change a man. Neither can a man change a woman. As much as women love the “Bad Boy” there’s also appeal in pygmalion whether it’s My Fair Lady or Pretty Woman.
In books and movies, I don’t find the bad boy to be particularly attractive. Less so if he’s bad for most of the book or movie, and the heroine is the one to tame him. The reformed guy with a wild past holds a bit more appeal. Someone once broken and flawed is endearing especially if it makes him even more honorable. When it comes to female characters, I have to admit pulling for girl from the wrong side of the tracks whether it’s Annie, Pretty in Pink, Anne of Green Gables, or Redeeming Love.
But the question is can people change? Or is a leopard always spotted?
Someone unrefined can be cultured. Convicts can go straight. Prostitutes can become respectable women. Alcoholics get sober. Addicts can get clean. Abusers can become loving partners. Anyone can change. Some people can turn their lives around by sheer will and determination but more often it requires Divine intervention.
In that way, every single one of us who knows Christ has changed. We were born into this world sinful creatures. More leper than leopard. Through His redemptive blood we are all new creations. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, ESV)
The answer is yes. A person may change their behaviors and habits, but true redeeming change requires God. Not from someone else, no matter how they love the person. If you are in an abusive relationship. Get out. Get safe. And get that person help. If you are in a relationship with someone who is addicted. Encourage them to get help. Find a support group for yourself. And above all else pray. Because God can change anyone.