“Can the leopard change his spots” is the question asked by Jeremiah. It was intended to be a rhetorical question; the obvious, no need to answer answer is no, a leopard cannot change his spots. In an earlier chapter he makes the comment “Although you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain our your guilt is ever before me, declares the Lord.” You see you can’t scrub the spots off.
In our day we have come to an alternate conclusion, that conclusion is that we can indeed wash the spots off. We have new better soap. We can educate the spots off. We can reform the spots off. We can use reason and therapies, get people to consider their past and be free. We can come up with a “baby steps” book of Moral Therapeutic Deism and make progress. We can punish people, have a rally, use extreme shaming, WE CAN WASH OFF THE SPOTS!!!
The problem is no matter what we try or how much it seems like we might be getting somewhere, maybe do a dye job so we can’t see the spots… the problem is… the leopard is still a leopard. So we can sit in a hammock and repeat a thousand times I am okay, I am okay, I am okay! But the leopard should never share the same backyard as my preschool grandchildren, or anyone for that matter because the instincts of the leopard have not changed.
Ezekiel carries this idea forward in 36:25-28, “I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you to move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. The you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.”
There is an answer for our world if only people could here it. The answer isn’t to make the leopard less leopard less leopard, it’s too replace it’s nature through God taking a stone cold heart and replacing it with a soft heart. What’s needed is a new heart. Any reading of today’s current events makes that abundantly clear.