Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor
“Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And i will try to fix you”
Great song. Awesome arrangement. When the electric guitar comes in, breathing life into the quiet ballad, it is one of the magical moments in rock music, up there with Roger Daltry’s scream and that first chime-y chord of A Hard Day’s Night.
But bad theology, though. And a really, really bad idea.
We heard it a lot when Stonepoint first started re:gen. “Oh, i wish i could get my husband/ wife/ son/ daughter/ uncle/ friend/ neighbor to come to this.” It happens sometimes when we start advertising a new relationship series, as well. People sincerely wanting their significant other, friend or loved one to come to a saving faith in Christ and get their scattered lives in order. Which is fantastic—that’s why Stonepoint exists, and what keeps the staff excited to do what we do week in and week out. We love to see life change. We love to be a part of life change. We love pointing people to Jesus.
But in any relationship conflict, including marriage, there are two parties involved.
My wife and i visit with couples who are having marriage issues from time to time, usually at our house over a nice dinner, and the common thread seems to boil down to, “He (or she) won’t do what i’m asking them to do. If they loved me, they’d change.”
We (‘we’ meaning Angie, since she’s much better at that sort of thing than i am) pretty much always respond with a question about their personal walk with Christ. “Forget about your spouse for a second,” she’ll say, “where are you in your relationship with God?” The answer is usually pretty consistent, as well, “oh, i could be better. I don’t read my Bible much, and my prayer life is virtually non-existent.” (Those aren’t exact words, mind you, but an accurate paraphrase. Very few people would be that honest over Chicken Tikka Masala.)
The follow-up is this—“how about you work on you, and quit trying to fix the other person.”
Again, Coldplay was wrong.
Here’s the deal. If you’re walking in obedience, praying, reading your Bible, living in community with some like-minded, encouraging believers, you are not going to stay the same. There is transformative power in God’s word, with God’s people and if you are consistent in those things, He is going to mold you more and more into the image of His Son. Period. He promises to do so, in His word, and He keeps His promises.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.—Philippians 1:6
Sometimes, the answer is different, when one of the pair is walking in obedience, and the other is not. There are many people in our church, mostly women, who diligently, faithfully try to show Christ to an unbelieving spouse. In doing that, we pray that the mate will eventually respond to the Godly example—and it may take years—but God’s restorative power can take root in the rockiest of soils. We’ve seen it happen. Please stop and say a prayer right now, for those in that situation.
So, if either scenario sounds like the boat you’re in, y’all are welcome to come over for dinner, or meet with someone else on our staff to talk about things, although personally, i recommend doing it over Indian food.
Just know going in that the answer is probably going to be ‘work on your vertical relationship, get that in order, and then see what happens with the horizontal ones.’ Find a good Bible reading plan, pray, and get in community and our prayer is that your spouse will eventually see God moving in your life, see the change in you, and want what you’ve got.
At the end of the day, that’s all we’ve got…Jesus.
So, Coldplay got it wrong. You can’t fix somebody, but God can.
And, sadly, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow divorced in 2016.