by Aleta Kay
There is a fine line between helping someone and crippling them, between compassion and control.
It starts with an illness and you’re just doing a few things to help out. Then they start to feel a little better but their energy level is still very low and their muscles are nearly atrophied from lack of use. So you do a little more and you spend more time with them so they won’t feel lonely.
Soon you find you are doing almost everything for them. Worst of all they have come to expect you to do all those things. They have become so dependent on you, you no longer have a life of your own. It has become a one-sided friendship: they are getting all the benefit and you are getting nothing but frustration and a feeling of being used and taken for granted.
Maybe it made you feel good at first. After all, you were being a good neighbor, a helping hand, a compassionate friend. All of those are good things but God never intended us to lose sight of His purpose for ourselves as individuals. He has a purpose and plan for each and every one of us. We are indeed supposed to help each other. Helping others should be just providing needs and services that they are unable to do for themselves. I’m not talking about chronically ill people who will never get better. That is an entirely different issue.
If you want to preserve a friendship you must also preserve the sense of dignity that belongs to that person. You must not become a surrogate parent, thus making them entirely dependent on you. Temporary illnesses should only require temporary help. Keep your own identity, your own life intact while you provide that helping hand. You’ll both be glad you did. And it needs to be done expecting nothing in return. Jesus loves us unconditionally as described in I Corinthians 13:4-8a. Have great friendship.