mal·le·a·ble: adjective; pliable, workable, amenable, persuadable, compliant, game, and tractable.
Some of the uses of this word involve objects being hammered or pressed permanently out of shape without breaking or cracking. However, I am more interested in how it is used to describe humans. I tend to think of this word when speaking of youth and the idea that we can mold them and their character into who they will one day be. But, as a person ages, I think that we quit using that term to describe them. Can’t we still be malleable?
Recently, I was talking with my son and he was telling me about a group of men that form his personal Board of Directors, not as in a company or business, but in Life. They are his mentors and each bring to the table different perspectives in their desire to be the best men they can be. They keep each other accountable as they move toward the same goals. They are open to being challenged as they seek to learn from other voices. They allow their hearts to be convicted when they see they may have gotten it wrong for many years and are open to listening and reevaluating. My son said that the trait these comrades shared in common, and the one he most admired, was that they were malleable. What an incredibly wonderful compliment and a testament to their maturity and humility, and one that I truly wish to aspire!
The older we get and the more set in our ways, the more important our willingness to be malleable becomes. We may become too comfortable in the status quo of our belief systems. I am not in any way saying to forgo values, morals, and ethics. However, we have had a lifetime of culture and media voices bombarding us with many incorrect messages. It is so easy to grasp at things we only partially understand. We have allowed tunnel vision to inform our assumptions based on a tiny piece of a really big picture. We need to be willing to look at what we’ve always surmised and be pliable, workable, amenable, persuadable, compliant, game, and tractable.
In many places in scripture, Jesus would start out by telling a story or answering a question by saying, You have heard it said this way….and He would continue with…. but I tell you. He was reminding them, and us, that the world could give them the wrong messages. They could form their beliefs on the wrong foundations. He was always challenging them to a new way of thinking. A new way of thinking leads to a new way of acting. He was challenging them to be malleable. They had a choice….and so do we.
And no one pours new wine into old wine skins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wine skins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wine skins. ~ Mark 2:22