I wanted to wait until we returned from the Holy Land to make my decision public. I am officially announcing my resignation today from a job I have long held, and frequently done very poorly. I am not sure how I got into this profession. I know I wasn’t invited, and I have often been deeply unappreciated. Why spend your life doing something neither required by the Lord, nor welcomed by others? Frankly, I gave up the job a while back, but felt constrained to make my decision known to all who read this blog. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see me at my post, I am really done this time. Yes, for me it’s over. No more fixing people—I resign.
No more setting people straight, helping others see the light. No more putting people on a program or convincing them to look in the mirror and see what they refuse to believe. Helping? Yes. Praying? For sure! Preaching? Always and with increased power, I pray. But fixing people individually? I’m done! No more stepping up or stepping in or stepping on toes to ring a broken bell that clangs discordantly with the facts about friend or foe. If you were wounded in a bad fix or a fast fix or a bad response to a fast fix, please accept my apologies—I truly hope you are doing better, I know that I am. Unless requested, unless an obvious critical-path, life or death emergency, ‘the fix’ is off!
Was it the temptation to push the pulpit application too far that caused fixing people to spill over into personal interaction? Did knowledge puff me up? I don’t remember thinking I was better, but I do recall needing people to be more or better or different. For my sake or for theirs? For God’s kingdom no doubt, but also as an increased efficiency in the crossing of paths and the sharing of responsibility. “I’m not sure if anyone has ever pointed this out to you, but do you realize…” “It’s not easy to say this to you, but from a heart of love I feel I must…” “This is not going to end well…” Like the understated dentist who offers, “This is gonna pinch,” the fixer has a variety of ‘opens’ that don’t really prepare the hearer adequately for what is to follow.
Fixes should end well, we should be ready at all times to receive the “reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2), but many are not. Yes, “reprove a wise man, and he will love you for it” (Proverbs 9:8), but apparently there are “not many wise” (1 Corinthians 1:26), and many blows are too often needed (Proverbs 17:10). Where the fixer is uninvited and the receiving heart is unreceptive, it’s far better to pull up and kneel down—interceding for a better reception, a more timely time, or a more worthy messenger.
Let’s start with some easy ones first:
I suppose I assumed when I began that everyone wanted what I wanted…to be better. I have accepted, even solicited, and been blessed by the critical feedback of friends, and picked diligently through the rubbish of those who sought my ruin to great advantage. But I have erred in thinking those who dish it out can take it, and had to learn that when you want it for people more than they want it for themselves, it won’t end well. Sadly, when you overestimate your ability to change the behavior of others, and rush in where fools fear to tread, you heap scorn for yourself and have little to show for it, aside from the faithful wounds of a well-intentioned friend (Proverbs 27:6).
Available, as always, for the humble and teachable and lowly of heart—but no more fixing people. It doesn’t work, it’s not fun, and it often hurts. Maybe you learned this a long time ago and took a pass on fixing me. Thanks for your patience. I have it now, the fix is in place for no more fixing. Take this job and . . . I quit!