Pastor’s Blog – November 4, 2021

       Last Sunday, I alluded to the distinction between taking care of others and caring for others. As parents, we are charged with the responsibility to take care of our children until they can take care of themselves. Apart from a failure to launch, this mark of maturity should reach its fulfillment by adulthood.

       Caring for these persons can include offering well-intentioned counsel, providing opportunities for advancement, and conveying assurances of encouragement and love. One iron clad rule for charitable organizations is to never do for others what they can do for themselves. Scripture offers the following guideline:
 
                         In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak                                                                           and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said,                                          ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35).
 
       The operative word in this passage is weak. Weakness in this instance refers to one whose faculties and/or capabilities are compromised. Persons who suffer from dementia, cancer, hearing loss, grief, and mental illness fit into this category.
 
       However, there is one world in which it is neither blessed to give or to receive: the world of co-dependency. Co-dependent relationships pair emotionally unhealthy individuals together in an awkward dance. Both persons can take care of themselves. One demands that the other take care of them both. In co-dependency, the lines of blessing and responsibility become blurred.
 
       Yet in healthy relationships, each party takes care of themselves, while simultaneously caring for one another. Each of us is responsible for our own well-being, feelings, and happiness. No one else can be expected to provide these qualities for us.
 
       On the other hand, Jesus does ask his followers to bless each another through mutual exchanges of love, encouragement, safety, trust, and honesty. Unhealthy persons do for others what they can do for themselves. Healthy partners, however, enhance each other’s capacity to do greater things.