You Can’t Save Anyone


I like to think that it is part of the human condition to have concern for each other. Of course if you look around you, this premise is always on trial. And I’m not trying to say that the world is a place where all people are treated with equal respect and kindness. But for the most part, people do care about others even if those others are often limited to their family, close friends, and significant other. We love these people, we want them to be happy, and we want to save them.

Sometimes our loved ones need help, and it’s easy to give help when the matter is concrete; it is easy to help when people are in need of something tangible. But it’s not easy when people need something truly important. When they need things that are immaterial, giving them what they need becomes difficult. Sometimes people need to leave a bad situation, they need to heal from brokenness, they need to stop doing things or living a life that harms them, and sometimes they just need to know for sure that they are loved and that there is hope and happiness available to them.

When we love people, when we truly love them, we want to give them a lot; we want to give them everything we have. But when there is an impermeable brokenness that is inside the person that we love, what we give may never seem to be enough. It doesn’t seem to heal them. We try to get them to see what we see and we try to mend their wounds. We try and try and we fail because as long as they don’t get it, as long as they don’t make a choice to accept our love, and to know self-love, they continue to be broken and unable to move past that brokenness.

All of us are human and we are all broken in some way or another. Indeed the world is full of brokenness — that is simply a fact of life. We hurt each other so much with our words and actions and inaction, and of course we hurt ourselves. But some of us learn to deal with this reality of life, we learn to fight through our brokenness — to be beautiful despite it and to be beautiful because of it. We learn somehow through all the difficulties that we face, to save ourselves. And we try to save those around us.

But have you ever tried to save someone? Perhaps you tried to love them with every fiber of your being so that they would know that they are wonderful in every way. Perhaps you made a fool out of yourself to let someone know how special and unique they are inside and out. Maybe you’ve emptied your emotions hoping that they would understand how badly you want to see them do better than they’re doing at present. But eventually you learn that you just can’t save anyone no matter how hard you try. People have to want to change, they have to want to do better, and to be better. All you can do is love people and pray for them and be present when they need you. But you can’t save them; at the end of the day, we all have to save ourselves.

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