Enabling or Helping

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Helping is doing something for someone that he is not capable of doing himself.
Enabling is doing for someone what he could and should be doing for himself.

Enabling is all about boundary issues. It’s natural to want to protect those we love, to help them when they’re down and to offer our assistance.  When is it enough?

Women experience frustration when they attempt to live many lives - their own, their children’s, their spouses’, their coworkers’, their friends’, their aging parents’. We overlook enabling gestures by saying, “But I’m only trying to help.” We make excuses like these:
·         “It’s just so hard for kids today.”
·         “If I don’t help, who will?”
·         “It makes me feel good to do those things.”
·         “No one understands my son like I do.”
·         “He just hasn’t found himself yet.”

What should we do?
We need to develop discernment to help us know the difference between helping and enabling
Realize that God expects us to be good managers of his resources.
It is irresponsible to endlessly give without requiring accountability.

Let God work.
We often limit God when we continue to rescue others or intervene in their lives. We learn by suffering from the consequences of our decisions so when enablers intervene, they allow others to by-pass this learning process. When people are too comfortable, they don’t have a motivation to change and the enabling cycle continues.

 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way”. Hebrews 12:11

Practice tough love. Grow a backbone.
It all comes down to saying “no” when we find ourselves doing things for someone who could and should be doing it for himself.  Saying “no” is hard, but setting boundaries is healthy for both the enabler and the enabled. Just say, “no!”

God’s Discernment
God expects us to help others but he wants us to be wise. We can pray for
God’s discernment when it comes to how much and how often to help someone. Discernment in how much to help is finding the balance in Paul’s words:

For each will have to bear his own load. Galatians 6:5

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Galatians 6:2-3

While the Bible doesn’t use the word “enabler,” it has much to say about personal responsibility.

 “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

 “…if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Let us pray for God’s wisdom about our own personal responsibility and not interfering with other’s personal responsibility.


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