Fixing People

The meme on social media reads this: “It’s not our job to fix people; it’s our job to love them even while they are broken.”

But is that true? I believe it is not. So, let’s look at some Scripture verses on that subject, shall we?

Are We to Fix People?

In Ephesians 4:1-16 we read that we, as Christians, are to speak the truth in love, one to the other, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes, but so that the body of Christ grows and builds itself up in love to maturity in Christ Jesus, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, as each part does its work.

And in Ephesians 5:17-21 and in Colossians 3:16 we read that we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And in Hebrews 3:13 we are instructed that we are to “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

And in Hebrews 10:23-25 we read that we are to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” And this word “encourage” means to exhort, to urge, to strongly encourage with a holy urging, as well as it can mean to uplift and to cheer. And stirring one another to love and good works may also require some holy urging and exhorting with true biblical counsel.

Then we read in Galatians 6:1: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” And in James 5:19-20 we read: “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

[Ephesians 4:1-16; Ephesians 5:17-21; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:23-25; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20]

Now, it is true that it is God who changes human hearts. We can make no one do what we believe they ought to do. But we are certainly to be urging them and counseling them and teaching and instructing and exhorting and encouraging them in the ways of holiness and godliness, and against the ways of wickedness and sinful addiction. And we are to help them to healing, and to restoration and to walks of obedience to our Lord, if they are willing, and if they will cooperate with us in doing what they ought to do.

Our Job to Love Them

And then think with me for a moment of the words in the second half of that meme. So, first off he says that it is not our job to fix people, which is contrary to what these Scriptures teach. But then he says that it is our job to love them, as though trying to help people to get better is not loving them? That is the implied message here, you know, that if we try to help repair people’s broken lives, we are not loving them. But if we ignore their brokenness, and we let them remain broken, that is loving them.

Do you see the wrongness of what is being taught in this meme? But this is the message which is being taught today, and not just in this one meme, and not just in memes, in general, but in sermons, and in movies, and in videos, and in devotionals, and in gospel presentations, etc. The message is strong that we are not to interfere in other people’s lives, even if we can see clearly that they are drowning. We are not to try to save them. For that is not being loving. But being loving is accepting them in their sinful conditions and ignoring their spiritual brokenness.

Now I will concede here that there are people who go about this the wrong way. For they make false judgments based on personal prejudices or whatever, and so they end up trying to fix things which are not broken, and they end up falsely accusing people of things they did not do, and they enter into situations uninvited where they have no knowledge of the situation, and so they only succeed in making matters much worse. And they end up hurting people instead of helping them. So this calls for much spiritual discernment. We must be led of the Spirit in this, for sure.

So, if you are going to try to help someone to freedom or to healing of some kind, know the facts of the situation first. Be a good listener and don’t make quick judgments, especially ones based on your own personal prejudices, or ones based on your own self. Don’t falsely accuse people of what they did not do based on your own feelings on the subject (example: Job’s friends). Be fair. Be kind. Be thoughtful. And ask questions instead of making assumptions. And don’t judge by your own standards, but by the Word of God and in truth. And pray before you do anything!

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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4 thoughts on “Fixing People

  1. I agree with the quotation because only God can change people’s hearts. They won’t have any desire to change if they don’t see love in action.


    • Yes, but the meme suggests that loving them means doing nothing about their condition. It suggests that love does nothing to help someone out of their broken condition. But love rescues people in the power of God’s Spirit, it doesn’t leave us broken. We are to restore the one caught in sin and turn the wandering Christian back to God. That is what it means to love. And it is what it means to fix broken people, to restore them back to wholeness.


      • God is the one who restores as well as judges those who are broken and need to be fixed. We are to show love and compassion and lead by example. We can try to fix the broken people by showing them the right way, but it is ultimately their choice to follow and God does the restoration work in their hearts. I think we may be coming from two sides of the same coin.


      • Did you read the Scriptures in this writing? Especially Galatians 6:1 and James 5:19-20? They teach that we are to restore the one caught in sin, and we are to bring back the sinner from his wandering. Now we do this in the power of the Spirit, and yes, it is actually the Spirit of God who does the restoring but we are involved in that process, and we are supposed to be involved in that process. But yes, it is their choice whether or not to be restored or to be brought back, and I pointed that out in the writing, as well as I pointed out that we cannot change people’s hearts but only God can. But the point is that we are to be engaged in restoring the broken to a right relationship with Christ and in bringing the wandering one back to a right relationship with Christ. So, we may be agreeing but just saying it in different ways.

        But look at the meme and its entire message, for it is two-fold. It is saying it is not our job to fix people, not at all. That isn’t true. We cannot do it alone, and only God can truly change people’s hearts, but we are to exhort and encourage and urge and restore and bring back the wanderer, so this is more than just setting the right example and just showing them the right way, but it is actually walking with them through the process, if they will let us.

        And then look at the other half of what he said. He said we are not to fix people but it is our job to love them, which assumes that fixing them (restoring and bringing them back) is unloving and that loving them does not involve restoring or bringing them back in any way. And so he says we are to love them while they are broken, so no indication here that we are to do anything to help them to be healed but we are to love in such a way that does not try to help them toward healing but that leaves them in a state of brokenness.

        And I read and hear these kinds of things on a regular basis. It is like the thing being taught that says “stay in your own lane,” which means don’t try to save anyone from their sins or to bring a wandering sinner back from his sinful ways. They are teaching that if we try to help someone out of a life of sin that we are being unloving but that loving involves us just engaging with them while they remain in their sin but we don’t try to help them.


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