Okay, I admit it: I’m a fixer. The “as is” racks at outlets are my favorites. Give me clothes that need to be mended, and I’ll head merrily straight for my sewing machine. Solving sewing riddles comes easily to me, and I find it very satisfying to make the useless useful again by my own little self. If the repair is beyond my skill, I feel frustrated. I want to be the one who fixes it!
My itch to fix is a useful skill in our family, but not so helpful in ministry, where instead of working with clothes, I work with real people with the flaws and failings, defects and deficiencies that come with being human. We all come “as is.” I can diagnose others’ problems with no trouble at all (much more easily than my own, of course), and I want to be the one to fix them, right now. The problem is that not many people want to be fixed-especially by me!
The Lord has been teaching me that repairing broken people is not my job. That’s a very good thing, for how can I, with so many imperfections of my own, mend others? And what makes me think that I should even try to do the work the Lord has reserved for Himself? “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10). I’m learning that when the Lord gives me insight into others’ failings, it’s not so that I can criticize them or try to change them, but so that I can love them and intercede for them with the One Who loves them most of all.
His diagnosis of their problems is always accurate, for “the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9). He makes His repairs from the inside out: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). He not only mends the broken; He makes them want to be mended. And the changes He makes are permanent. Any fixing I could do would be superficial and short-term at best-a flawed, temporary patching-up. But when God does His work in a human heart, it’s transformed forever.
If I’ll quit meddling long enough to simply meditate on what He has promised to do, I’ll find it easy to stop being frustrated when people resist my earnest attempts to change them. Instead, I will glady turn over all repair work to the Master Mender, Who can fix anyone.