I have had the privilege of screwing a lot of relationships up. I’ve screwed up with my girlfriends, my family, my friends, probably with my dog too. I have found that my life has been transformed a lot over the last few years. I give credit to three things: Pain, Being engaged with Intelligent people, and all of my relationships (especially the failing, messy ones).
My friend likes to joke around that when we see a hot woman, he’s going to ask her out and “missionary” date her. Which often translates into her, dragging him down into sexual play (which is what he wanted all along), after making some weak attempt at trying to convert her into Christianity. I, on the other hand am far too good to ever engage in such foolish, and immature behavior. No, I have endeavored into what I like to call “the messianic complex.”
I have made very poor choices in my life in regards to who I allow myself to be in relationships with. I have chosen friendships and dating relationships out of “the messianic complex.” Deep down inside, I was only with them, because I wanted to save them. I have found a lot of people who engage in this complex. They, like me, pick up needy and broken people and try to rehabilitate them into life. This doesn’t work.
What happens is a long, draining, painful relationship where they take everything from you, and you get nothing in return. You resent them. You hate them. They fall back into the patterns that they need to be saved from. We can’t save them… (Right now, there is a smart aleck Christian going “well duh….. only God can.”)
You may love the person you want to save, just as I love/d the few people scrolling in my mind. No matter how much we love them, we can’t save them. They have to want to be saved. By trying to save them, we are only enabling them to continue being victims. We may want to rescue them from their pain, from their bad behaviors, but they have to do it for themselves.
We can’t save our husbands from their physical abuse. You have to leave.
We can’t save our drug addict friends from their self-destruction. You have to leave.
We can’t save people from the world, from themselves. All we can do is love them and most of the time that means from a distance. We love them by getting them counselors, into rehab, and listening to them when we can afford to. Trying to save them from their life not only screws up ours, but it also enables theirs. We must learn to surrender to the God who is already present because he comes in the shape of our life. The abuser, the addict, the broken must find God in the shape of their abuse, addiction, and their brokenness in order to be saved from it. Trying to save people will screw our relationship with them up.