Help A Brother Out – Can We Help Too Much?

We know what the Bible says about loving other people.

  • God said that it was ultimately how we show love to Him… by loving others.
  • Jesus was all about loving and serving other people.
  • The Bible heroes that we always seem to hear about are often seen helping other people.

Here’s my question…

Can we help someone out too much?


22 Comments

  1. Gwen C

    ABSOLUTELY, we can “help” others too much! There’s a point at which we need to challenge folks to do the best we can with THE TOOLS supplied: We can’t know, without this, whether or not someone will use gifts responsibly.

    I named my daughter after Emily Dickinson, due to one of HER insightful remarks: Though Dickinson herself was pretty mentally challenged, she wrote, over 100 years ago the following:

    “We never know
    how tall we are
    til we are asked to rise
    and then, if we are
    true to plan
    our statures touch the skies!”

    Reply
    1. Great points. Where’s the line between really caring about others and just saying, “they need to figure it out on their own” as a way to deflect the responsibility? Thanks Gwen!

      Reply
  2. That’s a tricky question, Jonathan. I suppose when helping someone turns into enabling someone then helping out becomes too much. As a parent, part of my job is to ensure my children can be productive on their own. If I help them too much, they will not be productive.

    I’ll be interested in the commentary for this question. Thanks for the post. Happy Wednesday! ☺

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  3. I agree with Larri. When we cross the line to enabling that is what makes it unhealthy. Sometimes “tough love” is necessary. But, if someone is heading in the wrong direction, we should never give up on them. We can continue to support them through prayer, and speaking truth in love into their situation. We need to follow Christ’s lead. I once wrote a post about How much grace is enough? The answer should always be MORE. Christ offered us unimaginable grace and we are called to do the same.

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  4. I think that there can be two things at play here:

    First, like others have said, enabling is a bad thing. I look at the “help” the west has given much of Africa, and even some of the “help” that the government gives the urban poor in this country. This has gone beyond help and into something that is anything but.

    The second thing is the motivation of the helper. I think that a big reason for help becoming enabling is that the helper likes the idea of being savior to the helpee. If a helpee is able to make their own decisions, provide their own income, and not need help anymore the helper loses their position of power.

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  5. Definitely. At some point, you have to let people stumble around on their own in order to learn. If we keep helping them out and try to do everything so they won’t get hurt, then we aren’t really helping them.

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  6. Tyson B

    By doing too much for others, we steal from them opportunities to learn, grow in responsibility and give a false sense of security for when we are no longer able to provide the help. Instead, we can love others by leading, teaching and nurishing. I love my 4 year old, but I won’t always tie his shoes for him.

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  7. I am so amazed because I’ve been living this kind of situation right now.
    I have two friends who don’t have anybody else to help them but me. The first one is having problems with her best friends, and the other one feels left behind by her husband. It’s so complicated, Jonathan! I want to help them very much but this can’t become such a load on my own life, said my psychologist. And she’s right.

    This is another side of the question: the amount of load that the helper may have to carry. It can become a real burden.

    Thanks for this space, I’m in need to discuss that!

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  8. Yes, yes we can help someone out too much. I say that as a social worker and a helper by nature. Sometimes people take for granted that you’re going to help them and then take advantage of that help. It’s hard to get in to, but I’ve seen in personally and professionally in my 21 years on the job. Sometimes those people just need a push to finally move out and help themselves.

    Reply

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