Proverbs: The Sluggard

As a giver, at what point are we enabling a sluggards to continue to not be transformed? Or are we not to worry about that? Does the Bible say anything about enabling someone who is not under your care?

Enabling, in relationships, is when a person takes responsibility or blame or makes accommodations for a person’s harmful or sinful conduct, usually done with the best intentions. A practical effect of enabling is that the person with the bad behavior is shielded from the consequences of his/her behavior and so feels no pressure to change.

An example, using the sluggard as the negative model, is an adult child, living at home and taking no responsibility in looking for or holding a job. In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians he warns against idleness (II Thessalonians 3:6-10) and states the rule, “If a man will not work, he should not eat.” That verse alone is a strong indicator of God’s view of what should happen to the person who does not work.

A general truth to keep in mind with the sinful behavior patterns of other people is that we should avoid ‘partnering’ in their sin. That’s another way of understanding the nature of enabling. Would you drive the get-away car so that your daughter could rob a bank? In a similar manner, we need to check what we enable other people to do.

Enabling is a serious problem in many relationships, a problem that Christians need to address. Sometimes, however, the situation is complicated by many factors. My advice for anyone who finds getting a handle on enabling situations confusing or difficult is to seek godly counsel.