The Evil Of Enabling
Interesting it was to note (in a recent article) the experience of an atheist-turned-Catholic who had a vivid "waking dream" after spending a week at the French apparition site of LaSalette some years ago."
In the dream, says Roy Schoeman, who was born Jewish, he saw a manly celestial being "who was quite severe but who I knew was actually extremely loving.
"Sometimes one has a high school teacher who is stricter than any of the 'happy-happy' teachers, but who actually loves more than the happy-happy teachers," said Roy. "It was like that."
Severe but loving, was this celestial figure. Imparting discipline. And the stern message he conveyed helped change Schoeman's life -- which brings us to the topic of "tough love" versus "enabling."
Too often, we forget that love takes many forms -- and that while it is great to encourage and make others feel good, and we all should seek that most of the time, doing so with someone who's astray and even in outright error but whom we are seeking to appease or placate is a superficial form of love and hardly in the person's best interest.
When we enable people who are errant -- and we all have done this (it's convenient) -- we too are in error.
Easy? Yes: it's easier to placate someone than to confront. But is that type of "kindness" always the highest form of love?
Tough love takes strength. When we look at the generally accepted definition, it's basically a disciplinary measure whereby a person is treated firmly with the intention of helping him or her in the long run. Enabling does the opposite. When we enable someone who is doing something wrong, we are in a conspiracy with it -- ensnared in its web. Empowering a person who is doing something evil is tapping into forces of darkness.
Here we come to the transgression of indifference: when we enable others who are thinking, talking, or acting wrongly, we're not only making a mistake but committing a sin. For when we avoid taking action, we are the opposite of loving. "He who spares the rod hates his son," says Proverbs. As Christ, Who overturned those temple tables, warned, "Broad is the road that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13).
Whom God loves He chastises (Hebrews 12:5-6).
When we enable we are giving people a nudge toward the "shades" (as Scripture calls the netherworld).
There is only one right shade, and that's the purity and brightness that beckon from Heaven, and it must always be that destination -- for ourselves and others -- that should be on our minds and in our intentions in every thing we do and say and with every person and decision.
A caution here: this doesn't mean that we judge, nor that we stop looking for the log in our own eyes, nor that we stop loving everyone.
But we're not here on earth to win popularity contests.
If you're right with God, what do you care what anyone else thinks?