(Detach With Love)
“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies…” 2 Thessalonians 3:10 ESV
“The real spiritual journey is work. You can make a naïve assertion that you trust in Jesus, but until it is tested a good, oh, 200 times, I doubt very much that it’s true.” — Richard Rohr
Jesus is perfect. He is perfect for us. Our Father provided his son for us because we are not perfect. My spouse is not perfect. My kids, boss, neighbor and grocery clerk are not perfect. They have their own journey, lessons and truths with our Father.
Three kinds of business:
- My business
- Their business
- God’s business
And as Christians we want to help. Fix. Overcome. This is a wonderful gift and there are times to rush in and help. A flood, surgery, death in the family, listening with empathy and more. These are obvious and we are to “carry one another’s burdens.”
But when we make another’s journey ours, we’ve crossed the line. We’re in God’s business and their business. By the way, we do not overcome this easily or quickly. 200 times of trusting Jesus? Probably more.
Signposts you’re in another’s business.
You make excuses for someone’s behavior—the parent that covers up a child’s drug addiction, angry words said to another, doing someone’s work they should be doing.
You give money and even hurt yourself in the process—see above—you mean well, you really do. God will take care of me. Yes, yes, He will. And he will take care of the other too, in his own way and own time. Their business. God’s business. God knows what’s best.
You feel resentful
Your quality of life is poor
There’s more, but you see, you’re hurting yourself and the other. You’re interfering with our Father’s plan for them. We’re in the way. The news is filled with young people who do destructive things because the parents enabled. Possibly absent. Even with absent parents, it’s their responsibility to live good and productive lives. It ain’t fair, it seems, but that’s life. Who are we to judge another’s path with our Father?
We can’t do it for another. We can listen. We can encourage. We can pray. We can share our experience, strength and hope. But when we give unsolicited advice, money, time, things, we may be interfering with their journey with the Father. We’re dragging out the pain and possibly making it worse.
Only our Father can change the heart and spirit of someone. And he pursues but never controls.
It is agonizing to see someone face their own consequences. We know. We had to face ours. Our business. I remember in school receiving my Algebra (argh!) test results and the only answers I remember were the ones I got wrong. Consequences. It seems heartless, cruel, painful and unchristian, but it’s more toxic to damage ourselves and interfere in what is their business and God’s business.
It is a wonderful thing to love, nurture and care for others but when we’ve made your business and their business ours, we’ve hurt them and your kingdom. Your Big Picture.
Remind us that not all good things feel good. They will someday, if we heed your wisdom, hope and remain faithful. Keep us in our own lane. Help us to remember whose business is this, the Creator or mine, with thanks for my blessings and the blessings of others in our lives.