I am a fixer. I am not a fixer of stuck windows, broken chairs, or leaky toilets. I am a fixer of broken hearts, broken lives, and lost souls; at least that is what I try to do. In the world of psychoanalysis, I am classified as co-dependent. An example of this psychological disorder would be the child of an alcoholic parent where the child assumes the place of the parent and the parent the place of the child. The parent becomes dependent upon the child for their well-being and, the child takes on the role of supplying those needs. It is in this environment that the child grows into an adult who measures their self-worth and acceptance by what they can do for others. This leads to a myriad of problems which we will not address, for they are not germane to our discussion.
However, we have introduced the previous thoughts because Christians are prone to exhibit co-dependent characteristics when dealing with the loss. They tend to measure their self-worth by the success rate of saving lost souls. Do not misunderstand; we should never lose compassion and zeal for the lost soul. The thing we must not do is to carry around a burden of worthlessness because someone made a choice to go to hell. Our responsibility as a Christian is to go and teach (Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 16:15). The Christian is not commanded to make or force another person to obey the gospel. Obedience to God is an individual action. Another may instruct me, encourage me, and yes, lead me, but in the end, it is I who will either choose heaven or hell.
Should these facts lessen our compassion for the lost soul? Jesus our Savior and example answers this question. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Matthew 23:37). Jesus knew He would be rejected by those in Jerusalem. He knew they would not receive His teaching and be saved. And yet, He went and He taught them until the very end.
As I said, I am a fixer. I know what it is like to lay awake at night worrying over what you said or what you might have said that would have made a difference. I know what it is like to have your motives questioned because you wanted to help the other person’s life to be better. I know the heartache when it becomes obvious that a soul is lost to God and there is nothing you can do about it.
I also know that I am a child of the King. “Which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Timothy 1:12). I know that I will, as all men, stand before God in judgment to be judged of every word and deed done in this life. John writes of this by saying, “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:12). Will I stand before God and wave a hand over a sea of souls and say, “Look what I have brought you, oh Almighty God!” I dare say not! Hopefully, without so much as lifting my eyes I will be able to proclaim, “Father, I gave you all that I had; I left nothing behind; I never gave up; I never lost heart; Your mercy has overwhelmed me; Your goodness has sustained me; Your love saved me; I am Your unprofitable servant.”
I close with this thought. Discouragement is the most effective weapon the Devil has in his arsenal. We must never let the bad choices of lost souls discourage us from moving on to the next lost soul. Do not give the Devil power over you by judging your self-worth by your perceived success rate of saving the lost.
Adapted from Glen Young