Helping Others Grow Up
What can you say about a brother or sister who knows all these things, but still continues to be used by others—to be blindly exploited by others?
I might try to talk to the people who are doing the exploiting and beg them to stop doing it. I would also talk to the other brother about growing up a little bit and having some backbone—about having a spine and learning how to walk in faith and trust and love. I’d talk about learning how to say, “No.” A big lesson in life is learning how to say, “No.”
“Can I exploit you?”
“No, but thanks for asking.”
What if that person knows he is being exploited, but he thinks it’s because of love?
Is that really love? Suppose you have a six-year-old child who always wants to grab your leg, and anytime you leave, the child starts crying. What do you do? You discipline them, because that’s not a compliment that they always have to be with mommy or daddy. That’s a lack of growing up. A parent who won’t discipline a child is being irresponsible. A parent who allows their child to be addicted to them like a drug and allows the child to exploit them and won’t say no is abusing that child. That’s not love, that is abuse.
That parent is probably doing it for his own ego because he likes all the attention from the child. The truth is that the parent needs to repent of not saying no to his child. That child needs to learn to walk on his own, dress himself, feed himself and stand up and function as a growing individual. A parent should not allow a child to continually grab on to them and cry every time they leave. That’s not love to let them do that, and to allow themselves to be exploited. Love is to teach them how to grow up and stand on their own two feet and be mature. The best gift we can give a child is to teach them how to grow up.
The same is true for adults. If I’m being exploited all the time because I’m allowing people to “grab on to my leg,” then I need to repent. I’m probably doing it for my own ego, because I like all the attention. Whatever the reason, I need to learn how to say, “Learn how to grow up, please. Stop hanging on my leg.”
If they say, “Oh, please tell me something. Tell me what to do.” I will say, “I’m not going to tell you what to do. You have to seek God. We can talk about the principles involved and if you come up with an idea that is disobedient to the Scriptures, I will be sure to let you know. But don’t ask me to do your thinking for you! Don’t ask me to do your praying for you. Don’t ask me to do your supplying for you. You need to learn how to stand up and be a man.”
What does God say about a man who refuses to work? God says that man shouldn’t eat. If he refuses to work, then he shouldn’t eat. There are a lot of ways to work if we don’t have a job. We could work by helping each other. We can spend our time looking for a job and serving each other. There are many ways to work. God said that a lazy man who won’t work shouldn’t eat. A person who is always exploiting someone else is like the lazy man who won’t work. Therefore he shouldn’t eat. We shouldn’t provide for someone’s needs all the time, so that they become addicted to us. If we are responsible, we need to stop giving them the drugs of our attention or whatever it is, and cause them to stand up and learn how to be a man or a woman. That’s the gift we can give them. We refuse to be exploited, so that they can grow up.
One person wants to exploit someone and this other person wants to be exploited by this person because his argument is, “I’m willing to lay down my life for these people.”
Yes, but it’s not laying down my life if I let my child cry every time I leave the room and let him grab my leg every time I am in the room. Allowing my child to do that is not laying my life down for them. Laying my life down for that child is learning how to say no sometimes. When they fall down and skin their knee, there’s a place for giving a kiss and a hug. There is a place for cleaning the cut and giving them a little love. But sometimes when your child falls down and skins their knee and cries, “Waah, waaah, waaah” you might say, “Stand up. Grow up. Toughen up. Be strong.”
Sometimes in life, you get some owies and things happen that are uncomfortable. And if we always whine and cry and have a “Gimme, gimme, gimme” attitude, that’s a character flaw. So allowing someone to be addicted to me is not laying down my life—it is abusing them. They may be thinking they are abusing me, but really, I’m abusing them, if I don’t cause them to stand up and learn how to have a walk with God. If they are too dependent upon me, then it has reached a point where I am not laying my life down for them anymore. I’m just refusing to give them proper guidance as a good parent to help them grow up.
In Galatians 6 it says, “We should bear one another’s burdens.” It also says, “Every man should bear his own burden.” Both of them are in Galatians 6.
For the brother who wants to be exploited and says, “I’m doing this out of love,” he’s not Biblically loving his brother. God says that the way we know we have love for our brothers is because we obey His commands. If we don’t obey God’s commands, then we do not love our brothers, no matter what you say with your mouth. So if the brother knows that he is being exploited and he does nothing to help his brother, he’s not loving him. He is disobeying God’s command. This is how we know we have love for the brothers, because we love God and we obey His commands. That’s the only way that you or I have any idea whether I love you or not. It’s not how I feel, it’s what I do. Do I love God and obey His commands in my relationship with you? If I do that, I know I have love for you.