Love Does Not Enable
It’s no secret that my husband Colby spoils me. He’s well aware that my schedule remains very, very busy. Because of that, he has always been so sweet to help around the house with cleaning, cooking and well, taking care of me.
I am the first to admit I definitely don’t always put my belongings where they need to go. For instance, instead of putting my shoes in the closet where they belong, I often kick them off in the entryway and leave them there. A few weeks ago, I was eating a clementine, my newest food obsession, and instead of throwing my peel away in the trash, I left it on the counter.
Once again and as always, Colby picked up after me and threw the peel away and gently and kindly reminded me, “love does not enable.”
Colby was trying to make the point that every time he picks after me, he does it out of love, but that same kind gesture enables me too. Why? Because I have become so accustomed that I now know that if I leave a mess, he will clean it up. Not only does it encourage me to repeat the behavior, but it doesn’t teach me any responsibility. In the end, this only hurts me.
I think there can be so many lessons from a clementine peel left on the counter but what I want to share with you today is love does not enable. If you are in a relationship or friendship where enabling is happening, it isn’t actually helping you. The same holds true for you enabling those around you. While you might think it’s love, it actually has the opposite effect.
In some ways, I draw many parallels between sympathizing with someone and enabling them. When you sympathize with someone what you do is lock someone into bondage. In other words, you enable their emotions and thoughts to remain the same. While this might be a coping mechanism and help for a brief period of time, it won’t work in the long run, right? Just as Colby might help me once because he loves me, in the long run, it’s only teaching me laziness and irresponsibility.
I find that most Christian communities are driven by sympathy and enablement and in some ways, that might be why so many Christians are sitting on their mat. It could be as simple as seeing someone in a group post a comment like, “I am so upset because my best friend just found out she is pregnant and I wish it was me” and instead of encouraging that person with what God’s Word says about jealousy and living by the Spirit, not feelings, the responses more line up with “ugh, that stinks. I hate that you have to deal with that. I feel so bad for you.” Do you see how that response enables that person to think her feelings or thoughts were okay? How about, “You have every right to avoid every baby and pregnant person while you go through infertility.” A comment like this is actually just enabling the bitter and jealous behavior. There are a million more examples I could give but hopefully you get the point.
So I want to ask a question I have asked many other times. Who have you surrounded yourself with? Are you in an environment that enables you? Have you surrounded yourself with people who sympathize and enable, leaving you in bondage? Or are you surrounding yourself with people who will show you compassion and love by directing you to the truth, even when it means calling you out, just as Colby did for me?
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Corinthians 16:7
“But instead we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth.” Ephesians 4:15
“Now all discipline seems to be more pain than pleasure at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bringing a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who yield to it.” Hebrews 12:11
PS. If you are going through infertility, please head over to join a faith-based support group I founded, Moms in the Making!
PPS. Have you picked up a copy of my book? Buy In Due Time, a 60-day devotional for hope + encouragement in the waiting.
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