Is “Enabling” the New Christian Judgmentalism?
Tough call here. To be honest when I hear someone say you are enabling another, I have a problem. Okay, usually the one apparently being enabled is in the midst of a series of really unwise choices and/or facing some hard consequences because of those unwise choices.
So for some of us on the other side of things (here is another tough place to find myself as even writing such a thing – being on the other side that is – comes across as arrogant and hypocritical. I mean think about it, is there really ever a time when we can say there is a difference? Brennan Manning observed, to see somebody as a someone instead of a something is the road Christians must travel down to begin reflecting a little bit of the Imago Dei – my paraphrase – see here).
Now I get it, the person being enabled is acting or saying some hurtful things and we may be feeling less than confident the string of unwise choices will be snapped or even that the wise choice is on the table for consideration even though we may have been shouting it out loud for some time.
So for me the real question concerns how are we to deal with someone we just want to say, hey, stop this nonsense. The road you are walking is just plain wrong and ultimately destructive. If you don’t stop you will be on your own. Ahh a little tough love seems in order. Ahh, maybe not.
Think about that, when is it okay for people who claim Jesus as Lord – not merely as Savior as essential as that is but Lord of our lives at this very moment – when is it okay to cut someone loose to stew in the pit of ugliness of their lives – even if that pit was created by their choices?
To be honest, I don’t have the definitive answer that can’t be challenged or nuanced beyond meaning. What I do know, grace triumphs all the time regardless. Isn’t the very definition of grace abundant kindness regardless with a heavy emphasis on the regardless?
If I hear our kids accurately in this intentional community I call home, to do otherwise means I’m trying to impose my thoughts and moral structures on them and frankly setting myself up as a hypocrite – two things they really really hate about people who claim the label Christian. Okay I can argue myself out of things – we are just so good at justifying ourselves and avoiding the hammer, but isn’t that a problem as well – alway having that I’m justified card in our pocket?
For me one of the most powerful stories about Jesus comes from John’s Gospel, 8:1-11, the story of the woman caught in adultery. If you haven’t read it, stop now and read it a few times.
There’s that great verse – let him without sin cast the first stone. And Jesus tells the woman, neither do I condemn you. Now that’s the question I need to be asking myself and everyone else who throws out that “enabling” card before we open our mouths.
Then we need to strip away all of our excuses and efforts to justify our wrongs and sit for a moment in His presence and then stand with the person who isn’t able to walk down the road alone.
What do you think?
Be blessed and be a blessing.