May 28, 2009

Avoid Enablement

Written by Boyd Bailey

Avoid Enablement… A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” Proverbs 19:19

It is hard to watch someone fail; however this may be what it takes for them to succeed. When we intervene prematurely into the middle of a friend or family problem, we can unknowingly prolong the pain. Short-term relief can short-circuit long-term solutions. Who do you know that needs your prayers, but not your problem solving? Resist the temptation to rush in and rescue. Trust God that He is at work, and He will work it out.

It is short sighted to think we can be their savior, when they need to depend on their only Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps they are victims of drug and alcohol abuse. Their condition may have to worsen, before they get better. When we are at the bottom, there is nowhere to look but up. The Lord lifts up the broken; “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2).

Anger is especially hard to tame, unless there is brokenness in the presence of God and man. Hotheaded behavior justifies its actions with feelings of rejection, self-pity, and hurt. It is a heart issue that only heaven can heal. Your sympathy is a surface salve; their wholeness will come through confession, repentance and taking responsibility. Anger must suffer the pain of its consequences, or it becomes a perpetual repeat offender.

The best way to help someone who has lost their way is to listen and love, but not enable their bad behavior. They need your wisdom much more than your money. Writing a check is easier than engaging in passionate prayer for their soul. Money can mask their need for real resolution. Let them go, and let God heal their soul. How can I offer tough love and trust God? Who do I need to stop enabling, so they can take responsibility? “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21).

Related Readings: 1 Samuel 20:30-31; Proverbs 22:24-25; 1 Corinthians 13:5; James 1:20

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