A few years back I found myself breaking up with a friend. I blame Andy Stanley.
Stanley is a popular pastor out of Atlanta, Georgia, and from time to time, I work his messages into my podcast schedule. One morning as I was walking through my neighborhood, Pastor Andy whispered into my earbuds:
“People are not projects. Your job is not to fix them.
That’s God’s job.”
With those words, the above-mentioned friend came to mind. For at least four years, I’d been trying hard to fix her. Pastor Andy is right, I thought. My many attempts to improve her life, marriage, and finances weren’t healthy for her or me.
When I got home from my walk, I drafted a “Dear-Jane” email. Since my husband Tony possesses excellent discernment, I showed him the letter to see what he thought. He told me the Andy Stanley part was fine, but that the rest of the note would probably offend her, that it might even make her hostile.
This might be a good time to mention that for years, Tony warned me about this individual. “She takes and takes. And takes and takes. Does she ever give back?”
Wouldn’t you know, this gal actually showed up at my house a few days later. My son came upstairs to let me know she was waiting. As I made my way to the front door, I said a quick prayer.
It’s a good thing I prayed. Even though our dialogue started with my Andy Stanley epiphany, the ensuing discussion soon turned ugly. In fact, within 10 minutes, I stood and insisted she leave our home.
The conversation so unsettled me, I immediately blocked her on social media. And deleted her from my phone.
Please know I am not recommending you leave people in distress. What I’m suggesting is you not think you can be someone’s savior. Actually, in a TED talk recently, beloved writer and speaker Anne Lamott said it way better than I can:
“A good name for God is ‘not me.’”
The week after our breakup, seeking clarity for the situation, I read through Proverbs. One verse in particular stood out to me, the words spot-on apropos. Here it is in the Amplified version:
“A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control];
For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again.” ~Proverbs 19:19