One common breakdown in relationships that I have observed from being in ministry, marriage, and counseling is when one person in the relationship projects their “Christ” need onto the other.
Some personalities may have a tendency to always be searching for a rescuer without even knowing it. I have learned as a 4 on the Enneagram that I had a tendency to do this without knowing. This plays out as finding a mate, friend, or even a career that becomes the “rescuer.” The truth is there is only one rescuer, only One Savior. Many of us would admit to knowing this at least intellectually, but have no real understanding of letting Christ actually be the lone rescuer/savior. I recall a quote by a bible teacher that has always stayed with me. She used the word EASTER and crafted a wise acronym to go with it; Every Alternative Savior Takes Early Retirement.
This has been true in my life and in the countless testimonies I have heard over the years. When we make others our rescuer we set them up for failure. They either retire or expire. Why? Because they are not suited for the role of rescuer– only Jesus is. This is not to say that others cannot come to our side in moments of difficulty or crisis. Jesus has blessed the world and the Church with the Church—so yes, we are to be facilitators of healing, but we ourselves cannot heal others. We cannot rescue others. Husbands do not rescue wives and wives do not rescue husbands.
We are to come alongside the other and be a comforter as Paul admonishes in 2 Cor. 1:6, “Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.” I read this as Paul teaching the church that suffering is inevitable and we should come alongside the one in need as a vessel of the Holy Spirit to provide ministry that points them to the Rescuer/Savior Christ Jesus.
Christ Jesus has created us with individual needs that will guide us according to His ways. Unfortunately, life and trauma have a way of rewriting or reprogramming us. The good news is that there really is healing in the Name of Jesus. I have found for many the first step on the path of healing is to allow God, through His Holy Spirit, to expose the lie that someone else is my rescuer/savior. Once we get to that place of truth, then we can properly begin placing our “Christ need” in its proper place. On Christ alone. In Christ alone.
A Practical Prayer response:
Perhaps you could pray along these lines; “Lord, I believe you alone are my Savior, Rescuer, and Healer. It is not fair for me to project my “Christ needs” onto my spouse or anyone else. Pour out your Spirit within me once again that I may have Christ’s wisdom and healing over my life. Teach me new ways of talking to you and myself that I may learn to depend on you to have my needs met. In Christ’s name. Amen.