I have often been bothered by the question, “How much is too much.” I believe in reaching out to help the next suffering human being. I have always been convinced that we are saddled with the responsibility to help our least fortunate fellow man. Of course, the help we provide can certainly vary. It can include providing money, food, clothing, rides to doctor’s appointments, helping someone get dressed, counting out their medications, mowing their lawns, shoveling their sidewalks, and the list goes on.
Some people, especially those in recovery from addiction or other debilitating conditions, require a lot of encouragement. They can become convinced that they cannot do anything for themselves. Of course,this becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. The less they do for themselves, the less capable they are of taking care of themselves. So just how much do you do for such a person?
Recovery tells us to keep going no matter what. To love the other person until they can love themselves. But sponsors for those people in recovery tell them to work with an addict or alcoholic for only so long, and to move on if the guidance and help is not being taken to heart. It is very easy to burn yourself out. And yet, I coincidentally just took a call from a sponsee of mine that tends to go off his meds, or take too many, and to go out drinking. I was drawn right back in to his drama. I could see myself in his struggle. It was heartbreaking. I listened, and I gave feedback and advice based upon my experience, strength and hope. I told him at least he still says he wants to be sober. He made it back in one piece, with no criminal charges. He did say he lost his Klonopin and most of his Percocet are gone, and he can’t find his wallet.
The Bible tells us to rebuke a brother in the spirit of the Lord. If he doesn’t receive us, we are to bring him before the elders of the church. If that doesn’t work, we are to bring the brother before the entire church for edification and correction. The Lord also tells us that we are to forgive our brother not ONCE, not SEVEN times, but seventy times seven. So it seems forgiveness and reaching out to help others should have no end. I would suggest that you pray before your intervention, and that, whenever possible, you bring along an extra person. Always remember what it felt like when you were down in the gutter, hopeless, helpless and all alone.