I Can’t Fix Them, I Should Just Work on Me

August 26, 2009

I’m so excited about our upcoming meeting with Terry Francis on October 11-14. Here’s a taste of what brother Francis will bring us. Thanks for the guest post, Terry.

I Can’t Fix Them, I Should Just Work On Me

The Bob the Builder song is recognizable to many: “Bob the builder, can he fix it? Bob the builder, yes he can!” Peyton used to watch “Bob the Builder.” Today, kids watch “Handy Manny.” Both shows promote the same idea. With their assortment of animated tools, Bob and Manny can fix anything that is broken. While they complete the repair or construction project at hand, they also fix other people in the process.

Sometimes we suffer from the “Bob the Builder” syndrome. Insert your name to understand this problem: “_____________ the builder, can he fix it? ______________ the builder, yes he can!” Many suffer from this problem. We go through life attempting to fix every problem there is. We attempt to fix our mate, our kids, our friends, our brethren, etc.

If you suffer from “Bob the Builder” syndrome here is my advice: STOP! We have to stop trying to fix other people. All who suffer from “Bob the Builder” syndrome must realize we are incapable of fixing others. One can teach his brethren how to avoid sinful behavior, but he can’t fix them by making them stop their behavior. Each person must fix himself. A father can teach his children about the value of hard work and dedication, but he can’t make them practice those values. Each of his children must make their own choices. A husband can lead in a godly way but he can’t force his wife to practice godly submission. She must make that choice. Often people feel compelled to fix other people in these areas because it is a reflection of their character. It isn’t. The behavior of other people does not define you.

It is interesting to note that in 1 Peter 3, Peter tells wives who have unbelieving husbands how to win them over. Peter didn’t say, “Fix him by preaching to him every morning and evening about the value of following God and going to heaven.” In contrast Peter said, “…be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1). Peter’s instruction was to encourage the unbelieving husband by being the best person they could be—not by fixing him.

One reason so many pretend to be “Bob the Builder” is it provides a good distraction. As long as one is fixing others around him, he can avoid fixing himself. Jesus spoke of the judging brother who sought to remove a speck from his brother’s eye instead of removing the log from his own (Matthew 7:3–5). The mistakes of others provide a distraction from being accountable. Fixing others is easier—and coincidentally more fun—than honestly evaluating and correcting one’s own mistakes. It’s similar to the neighborhood barber whose hair is shaggy and un-kept. He’s simply too busy fixing other people to take care of himself.

Start your recovery from “Bob the Builder” syndrome today. Focus on fixing yourself instead of others. That doesn’t mean you stop teaching and instructing those you love. It simply means you teach and allow them the freedom to choose how they respond. They may decide not to listen. If that is their choice, we must choose our own response. As parents, that may involve discipline. As brethren, it can also involve discipline when the church is involved. We must allow others to choose their own path—to fix their own life.

Isn’t that how God treats us? He could have fixed us against our own will. Instead, He simply gave us the Gospel and allows us to choose to fix our own lives. None of us will be held accountable for fixing anyone else—we are all accountable for fixing our own life. Stop fixing others and start fixing yourself today!

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