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Letting Go

"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy."1

One lady I know has a grown alcoholic daughter in her mid–thirties who still lives with her mother. When the daughter goes out and is too drunk to drive home, guess who goes and picks her up? And when she's too drunk to go to work and can't make her car payment, guess who makes it? You're right. It's mother. So, which of the two is the sickest?

As long as mother keeps rescuing her daughter, the daughter has no need to face her problem and deal with it. Mother is the enabler. Counselors tell us that for every alcoholic there are four co–alcoholics or codependent enablers. These people short–circuit the natural consequences of the alcoholics' negative, self–destructive behavior.

As difficult as it may seem, there comes a time after nothing else has worked, the enabler needs to let go and stop their rescuing behavior, which is a part of the sickness and reinforces the problem.

Usually it is only when people with major problems hit bottom that they are likely to come out of denial, admit what they are, and do something about it. There's no guarantee that they will do this, but if we don't stop rescuing them, it is a sure–fire guarantee that they won't get into recovery, as they have no need to. The prodigal son that Jesus taught about came to his senses only when he hit rock bottom. The father let go of him so he could do this. God also lets us hit rock bottom too, so we will come to our senses, acknowledge our sickness, and get into recovery.

Is there someone in your life that you need to let go of, get out of the way, and stop rescuing and enabling, and entrust them to God? This act of tough love won't be well received (to put it mildly), but it is the most and only loving thing to do.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, wherever I need to exercise tough love, help me to see my destructive actions, and give me the courage to let go of the person/s I am enabling, and let them crash—and trust them to You with the prayer that they will come to their senses and get into recovery. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Proverbs 28:13 (NIV).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.