You can not fix people. The truth is, tempting as it may be, fixing others is not your job. People are going to do things that irritate you. No matter how much they love you, nobody is going to always, unconditionally agree with you. Others are not always going to follow your script, especially since you likely forgot to give it to them.
Taking other people’s inventory comes easy, but again, figuring out what’s wrong with them so that they can start living life according to your expectations is not the purpose for which you were created. The only inventory you should take daily is yours. Have I been faithful today in the things God elected me to steward? What have I done today that requires me to make amends? Am I working my program—spending time in God’s Word, talking to the Lord in prayer, and demonstrating loving kindness to others? Jesus said that the two greatest commands that we are to practice and follow are loving God with our everythingness and loving our neighbors, including our enemies, as we love ourselves. Put God first and love others. Pretty straightforward.
No matter how you twist it, Jesus didn’t say stop and take everyone’s inventory and fix them. God is for you. He wants you to be for Him and for others. At times, that demands you show someone else a ton of grace. But don’t fret. Someone has probably had to do the same for you at one point along your journey (yes, shocking! I know!) And even if not, your mission remains the same: Love God. Love others.
Our job is not to figure out what everyone else is doing wrong. Our responsibility to God, to others, and to ourselves is to be accountable for our responses and actions, asking the Lord to help us see and correct those things we need to make right in ourselves. Yes, people will hurt you, make you angry, and disappoint you. Sometimes, instead of your enemy, it may be the ones you love the most. That’s a gut kick for sure. But, hard as it may be, you have to try and let the offense go, forgiving it quickly.
That doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat and continually accept a person’s bad behavior. Not at all. But it doesn’t mean your job is to fix them so they can get it right, either. If you value the relationship, you have to initiate change by inviting them into the conversation. You can tell people how their behavior makes you feel or what buttons it pushes in your response. If they listen, great. If they don’t, feel free to move on. But remember, at all times, demonstrate grace. People have their own drama going on. You don’t know what makes them tick or treat you a certain way. You’re no mind reader after all. There’s no telling what’s going on in their life that is causing them to act in a way that is unacceptable to you. Maybe God brought them into your life so you could walk alongside them and help them navigate the stormy seas they are traveling on.
I am not telling you this because I do it especially well. I’m sharing it with you because often times I don’t and these shortcomings have taught me difficult lessons that have come at great expense. Trust me, I have a wake choked full of broken relationships, lost friendships, and general dysfunctionality. Taking people’s inventory is easy. Loving them just as they are, trying not to fix them, is hard. Forgive, make amends, and start over. If God held grudges, all our hope would be lost. Fortunately for us, He meets us where we are. And I think He expects us to do the same for others.
Go in peace.