Proverbs 19:19 “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.”
When someone we love is in the grip of a harmful substance or behavior, we naturally want to help. In spite of our best intentions, our efforts are sometimes harmful rather than helpful. Enabling is good intentions gone wrong.
Enabling allows people to continue in their self-destructive behaviors without feeling the painful consequences that might convince them to stop before the problem spirals out of control. Today’s Scripture cautions us that if we rescue a person from the consequences of his or her choices, we’ll just have to do it again … and again.
Consider this …
Do you find yourself covering up the behavior of a friend or loved one, or bailing them out of jail? You might make excuses for them or even blame yourself for their problem. And it’s very easy to give them “one more chance” over and over again. These are common examples of enabling.
Our responsibility to our troubled loved ones is to be supportive. We need to empathize but not fix. To encourage but not protect. We must allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions and not rescue them. To confront them with truth, but not try to control. All of us need to look at whether we are helping … or harming … the struggling people in our lives. And then we can begin the process of being a supporter instead of an enabler. We need to “let go and let God.”
Lord, it’s so hard not to fix my loved one’s problems. But when I come to the rescue instead of letting him suffer the consequences of his actions, I do find that I have to come to the rescue again and again. Nothing really gets fixed. Teach me to be a supporter instead of an enabler. Help me to trust you more. In Jesus’ name …
These thoughts were drawn from …
Close—But Not Too Close by Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee. A complement to the Concerned Persons small group study, this booklet is written primarily for those who want to help someone close to them who is enslaved by the stronghold of a life-controlling issue. It is also designed to help someone who is suffering the consequences of a loved one’s problem.
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