5.10.2013

A Fine Line Between Supportive and Enabling

Sometimes I feel like I am walking a fine line between being supportive of a friend, and enabling their bad behavior. I am one of those people that has a lot of friends, but only a few I really consider to be close. Some might say I am selective, only pouring my heart and soul into a few relationships. That being said, these few friendships I really do put my all into.

As you may have already noticed, I have my opinions. I think being a true friend to someone is sharing your opinion with them when you feel it is important, or they solicit it. They might not always like this opinion, but I always appreciate when a good friend is able to open my eyes to something I might not otherwise see, simply just by being honest and real with me. Even if it isn't something I wanted to hear, I know they are my friend and love me and are only looking out for my best interest.

So, that brings me to a question. At what point do I just stifle my opinions and choose to be supportive of my friend just because they are my friend, even if I feel they are making the wrong decision? And at what point do I decide that because this decision is effecting their physical and mental well-being enough that I need to stop enabling them by being supportive? And do I just take space from them to protect myself, or do I continue to persevere to help them?

Sometimes, I battle with the idea that I need to be supportive no matter what, even if I disagree. I am pretty good at this, and I hope my friends would agree. But, it comes to a point where it hurts me to support them because I know it is SO wrong. So, is it OK to remove myself from that friendship? Now, I'm not sure. I know that Jesus would want us to reach out to those in need, no matter how bad what they are doing is, but at other times, I know He would also want us to protect our hearts from the things that lead us away from Him.



Now, I have a dilemma. I don't necessarily want to end my friendship with these people, but my opinion clearly has not effected their decision making, and I know it is to the point where it is only hurting me to remain their friend. Again, stumped. What do you ladies think about this topic? Do you have friends that you feel sometimes put you in this situation, how do you deal?

10 comments :

  1. I've been there where you are, friend. I think the important thing is to remember that we are supposed to be people full of love and grace, but we want to guide our friends in TRUTH. I think that there is a way to speak truth into lives of others who are making not so great life choices, but you just have to be gentle and do it in a loving way. And then once you have shared your heart and your opinion, you don't have to keep doing it, just keep praying for your friend and it will come up again. They might have a moment they ask for advice or are hurting and realize they don't want to be walking that road, and thats where you can come in again with love and grace but gently pointing them to the cross. I have lost a friendship because of this and the way I handled it, so its something I still am working on.

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    1. Thanks girl, it really has been a challenge. I feel like I have tried every technique under the sun to no avail.

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  2. Oh how I have been there too! It's a hard spot to be in, but the Lord knows our ways. I've found the strongest thing we can do for them is to pray. And to be there but with God's wisdom know when to draw back-- if it ultimately the Lord that can only change our hearts!

    Have a blessed weekend, friend!

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    1. Thank you Abigail, I really needed that.

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  3. I've found myself in a very similar situation lately so I totally feel your heart on this one. I feel like a good place to draw the line on whether to being their friend or not is when they start trying to pull you into their lifestyle and disrespecting your choices and opinions. Praying and asking God to take complete control of the situation always works wonders for me! I agree with what Brittany said as well though about expressing our opinions honestly and gently but not over and over and over. I'll be sure to say a little prayer for you :)

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    1. Kiah, thank you for your sweet comment. I completely agree with what you said about disrespecting my choices, and I will definitely keep this in mind moving forward in the situation.

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  4. I feel the same way sometimes. Praying and talking to those friend is what I have done in situations like that.
    New follower from the Abigail Jasmine blog! Looking forward to your next post!

    xo
    Caroline

    lovecarolineblog.blogspot.com

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  5. This is such a great post. I think that a lot of friends feel this way and never really know how to broach the subject.

    When I reflect on my friendships that have reached this point I found that the best things to do were-- love them, pray for them and stand strong with your opinions. Just showing that you love them does not mean that your support them. A lot of people don't realize that (not saying you're one of them) but make sure your friends know that however you feel the Lord wants you to deal with the situation. And that leads me to the next point, as some of the ladies above said, PRAY! Just talking to God about it and how you feel, what you should do, what His plan is and just releasing it to Him will be so wonderful. This will also make standing up in those hard times a little bit easier.

    Sometimes our friends take a while to see that we are just trying to help them and not hurt them. I'm praying for you and your friendships, Cassie!

    Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Praying is constant for this girl, but I think you made many other important points. Especially that showing you love them does not mean you support them. Sometimes it can just be difficult to show grace when you're frustrated with the person you love's decisions.

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