I’ve been sitting in a counseling room listening to people’s darkest struggles for four years now. In that time a lot of voices have accumulated in my head, and some of them are talking trash. Like the one which constantly tells me that I have to do something, say something, make something happen – that if I don’t, I will have failed the people who are counting on me. The truth is, I could spend every daylight hour (not to mention those wee, morning hours) researching, brainstorming and praying for these people and still hear this urgent voice of worry. But there is a simple, two-part truth which allows me to sleep at night, to grieve appropriately and to avoid foolish pride. Here’s what I tell myself: “They have a Savior, and it isn’t me.”
First of all, I’m nobody’s savior despite the guilty self-talk I hear in my head. The Lord may choose to use me in someone’s life, and that would be wonderful, but I can’t save them. If I think I can, then it’s my soul which is in greater peril. Even if I took a bullet for someone else, I would not have saved them. I would only have prolonged their earthly journey. And I doubt I’d even try to take that bullet. I don’t have the wisdom of a savior. I don’t have the courage of a savior. I don’t have the power of a savior. To think that my responsibilities include saving anyone, even my own children, is to steal the honor which belongs to Another.
Second, the world already has a Savior. All these suffering, broken, limited people have a remedy. Some of them know it, and some of them don’t, but that doesn’t change the simple fact that “the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14) I can talk about the remedy, but I can’t manipulate God’s will for anyone, and I can’t thwart it. I can only yield to it, accept it, trust it.
“They have a Savior, and it’s not me.” That kind of self-talk can quiet a lot of trash talk.