Am I Enabling Someone I Love?

Are you offering the wrong kind of help to your loved ones?

One of the most common problems I see in Christians today is confusion about how to help a loved one who has a problem. Offering the wrong kind of help, they end up feeding the problem-and working against what God is trying to do in the life of their loved one. Every day we get calls and letters from people asking – how can we help our son or daughter or grandchild who is using drugs, running with the wrong friends, rebelling against their parents?

Many are godly parents who have prayed and fasted for their child-yet they watch painfully as their child continues down a path of rebellion and destruction. One mother told me, “I pray for my children, but why is God so slow to answer?”

So what can parents or grandparents do to help their loved ones?

Stop enabling!

What is Enabling?
Enabling is offering the wrong kind of help. Enabling is rescuing your loved one so they don’t experience the painful consequences of their irresponsible decisions.

Enabling is anything that stands in the way of persons experiencing the natural consequences of their own behavior.

Galatians 6:7-8 speaks to Christians about this issue with simple-even blunt truth. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (NIV)

God’s word here is specific- Christians-don’t be deceived!

Your own children can deceive you when it comes to this scripture. We are willing to accept this verse when it comes to sinners living around us- but when it comes to our own children-are we willing to let God be in control?

Many parents simply cannot stand by and watch their child suffer pain from bad decisions-so they rescue them. One grandmother told me, “I can understand that my alcoholic daughter needs to experience the painful consequences of her actions-but I cannot stand to see my little grandchildren suffer- they are innocent little ones.” So she “helps” them.

At first glance it seems the loving thing to do-to help the innocent grandchildren. But do we “mock God” when we do that? Are we not getting in God’s way? There are no simple answers.

If God specifically speaks to you to reach out and offer specific help-then by all means do it! But all too often we offer help, not because God specifically spoke to us, but because we think it is the right thing to do.

Some parents want to minimize the damage in the lives of their children. The result-they become part of the deception. A father said, “I make sure my teenage daughter has a condom when she goes out on a date. I don’t want her to get AIDS.” He is deceiving himself and his daughter-and the man she is dating. Safe sex? Safe sin?

When we give anyone the impression there is a “safe way to sin,” we are mocking God. Sin always causes destruction. When we step in and rescue people from the consequences of their sin, we only push our loved one farther down the path of delusion and destruction.

Copyright © 1999, 2005 By David Batty. Used by permission.

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