Let that sink in for a moment. Take a deep breath. It is truly liberating. You can experience powerful freedom if you accept that truth. Over 15 years of church ministry, church planting, missions, and coaching have taught me one major lesson. I’m not anyone’s savior.
It isn’t a lesson I’ve nailed down. I have to lick my wounds and remind myself daily. I can remember for specific situations where my heart was shattered because I had allowed pride to make me think I was someone’s savior.
4 Specific Situations I Thought I Was a Savior
1. I was a 22 years old youth pastor that just found out a student was dealing with homosexuality. I tried to love him and embrace him, others didn’t. He fled the church parking lot in rejection. I chased him wearing my suit. I was devastated. I thought it was my fault. I was a failure and his salvation was on my hands. I thought I was his savior.
2. I was a 28-year-old church planter building a relationship with my neighbor who was set in his ways, retirement, and three marriage failures. I watched TV with him. I played with his dog. My boys brought him cookies. We brought him a Thanksgiving meal. I was determined to save him! It didn’t work. He finally rejected my love and my offer to introduce him to Christ. I went home and collapsed on my bed and cried harder than any time I can remember. I thought I was his savior.
3. I was a 33-year-old missionary connecting with my neighbor addicted to drugs, struggling with his marriage, and growing weed in his basement. I laid hands on his house after runs. I raked his leaves. I left texts of encouragement. I spent time in conversations on my back porch. He rejected it. I was once again devastated. I thought I was his savior.
4. Just a year ago I spent time with a pastor friend helping him with his health. I put together a fitness plan. I called him regularly. I wrote on his Facebook wall constantly. I ran beside him. I offered him everything I knew about fitness and health. He rejected it. I was crushed. I thought I was his answer to his weight loss. I thought I was his savior.
Guess what? All this describes a good-hearted person, but a dysfunction of what it means to be a minister of the Gospel. There are hints of narcissism here isn’t there? Who did I think I was? It is an ego trip disguised as ministry.
I was recently talking to my sister about this as we help people with their health. We can’t lose weight for people. Trying to be a savior for people in fitness is so much like discipleship.
I remember a conversation with a friend of my Kevin who told me one day over coffee his recipe for discipleship. He meets with someone 3-4 times, teaches them everything he knows about Jesus, encourages them, points them to Jesus, and then gets out-of-the-way. Think about it. The more we try to get people to depend on us, come to us, drain us, we can only get them so far. In the end we, along with them, or left hurting because we tried to be their savior. We can’t.
I mean seriously I need to remember I’m an imperfect messy individual as well. I’ve got my own junk to deal with. It’s so easy to pinpoint others struggles, judge them for it, and quickly forget we have our own. It just makes us feel better about thinking of fixing theirs so we won’t have to fix our own right? The truth is while we’re trying to be someone else’s savior we miss out on receiving THE SAVIOR we so desperately need!
I’m with Kevin in helping others find Jesus and lose weight. The quicker I can provide the tools, knowledge, resources, and experience the better. Then I point them to the only one that is perfect and has the power to help them. It is up to that specific person to take it from there. My role then? Get out of their way from connecting with Jesus and become an encourager, an ambassador, an angel, and a protector of their pursuit.
How about you? Are you currently drowning in being someone’s savior? Let go and let God take care of them. Point them to him as quickly as possible and prevent yourself and them from suffering. WE ARE NO ONE’S SAVIOR!