God has a way of teaching us valuable lessons through everyday living, doesn’t He? As a counselor and coach you would think my job would be all about the idea of “fixing” people. After all, everyone has a reason for doing what they do, right? They are hurting and broken, either because of choices they’ve made or because the poor choices of others impacted their lives in a profoundly negative way; thus the need for “fixing.” Even as a former pastor, I come from a generation of spiritual leaders who approach Christianity from the standpoint of “fixing” people because they see that as something Jesus did in his ministry. There are certain personality types that are by nature “fixers” as well; people who take on someone like a project or a pet under the guise of helping or “fixing” the broken, when often their purpose is somewhat more self-serving.
I suppose it is a blend of genuine concern, an attitude of superiority, and a dash of disillusionment with humanity within our minds that prompts us to attempt to make man in our own image. If we fix them, they can be like “us.”
But who on this earth gets to qualify who gets to be “us” and who gets to be “them,” the ones that need fixing? It breaks my heart when we consciously separate ourselves from one another based on the color of skin, the different clothes we wear, the beliefs we hold, or the choices we make. Worse yet are those that attempt to fix another person because he or she is unlike themselves. Certainly no one can learn that from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob- the father of Jesus the Messiah. That paradigm is foreign to Christianity, or at least to true biblical Christianity. From picking on the kid at school to riots to murders to even the wars we wage around the globe, one human can’t stand having an advantage over another, having more or less than another and we definitely tend to be intolerant of someone being even slightly different.
If you look at what the Bible really says, Jesus’ approach was quite different than many think. Not once did Jesus or any of the apostles who came after him try to fix anyone. Then, what did they do? Two things: they communicated truth and they did so supported by loving actions. A person will choose what he wills — he or she cannot be fixed or even helped by another human, physician, pastor, therapist, or friend. Even when we’re broken, we cannot be fixed unless we earnestly want to be fixed.
I fear that more and more often, the “fixer” is more broken than the one perceived as needing fixed. As a therapist and as a brother in Christ, it is my job as well as it is yours, to receive and accept others, extending love and understanding to them without condition and without condemnation, meeting people wherever they find themselves in life. We are called by God to two tasks: 1) Love God; and 2) Love others. Our counsel and guidance is no more than a fellow traveller helping another navigate through life’s sometimes difficult paths. Along the way they may choose to make changes in their own lives based on our influence, even God’s perhaps, but that is the extent of so called “fixing.” What a different world we would have if we would learn this universal truth!