"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 at home. 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 payments, guess who makes the payments for her? You're right. It's her 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 and is a part of the sickness. Counselors tell us that for every alcoholic there are four co-alcoholic or codependent enablers. These people short-circuit the natural consequences of somebody else's negative and self-destructive behavior.
As difficult as it may seem, there comes a time, after nothing else has worked, when the enabler needs to let go, stop all rescuing of the problem person, and let them crash. Scary? Yes, but absolutely essential if the person has any hope of recovery.
As a general rule, it's 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 getting into recovery. There's no guarantee that they will do this, but if we don't stop rescuing them, it is a surefire guarantee that they will NOT get into recovery. They have no need to. The prodigal son, about whom Jesus taught, came to his senses only when he hit rock bottom. The father let go of him so he could do this. God lets us hit rock bottom, too, so we will come to our senses and turn to him for help.
Is there someone in your life you need to let go of and trust them to God? This won't be the most popular thing you can do (to put it mildly), but it is the most loving thing.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to support people who are genuinely in need, but not rescue people from the consequences of their self-destructive behaviors. Give me the wisdom to know what I need to do and the courage to do it. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 28:13 (NIV).
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.