When I was practicing Marriage and Family Therapy, I would oftentimes hear concerned parents say, “I’ve come so you can help fix my rebellious teenager” or a spouse desperately say “I need my wife to change, please help her.”
As much as we all have tried at some point or another to “fix” a loved one, friend, or acquaintance in our lives, we probably found that we just couldn’t do it. At least not by ourselves. Yes, it would be easy to think if we just say something enough times or use just the right words at the right time then the problem at hand would all go away. But that’s not typically the case, right?
I’m a firm believer in trying this little exercise out: extend your arm and point to the other person, the person you want to “change.” Now, look at your finger: that one finger that is pointing at the other person is far less powerful than the four fingers that are pointing back at you.
The only people we can “fix” is ourselves. So that’s where our focus needs to be, not on the other person.
We have the ability to change our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors about the situation at hand. It doesn’t mean that we like or accept what the other person may be doing (and for some you’ve grieved years over), but it takes the burden off of us to be the ones to change them. Instead, it puts the burden on changing ourselves.
While we can’t “fix” others, there are a few things we can do to help prompt change. First and foremost we can pray for them, asking God to help open their hearts and minds to changing. God can make all things new and is the great Healer. Secondly, we can influence others. We can help prompt positive change by being encouraging, not giving up, and being merciful/gracious. Third, invite others into your/their lives that could be of support or a mentor.
Take hope in the role you can play, by initiating the above suggestions. Start with giving your worries and pleas to the Lord on that person’s behalf. And though some people may not ever be “fixed,” others can and will accept yours and others influence and change for the better.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:1-3
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:!