This is a lesson I have learned many times over. Well, I should rephrase that; this is a lesson I have relived many times over. If I had learned anything I would have stopped doing it! If you are hoping to learn how to tell when God is trying to teach vs. when you should lend a hand (aka throw the life preserver), please wait for the upcoming article, “How to hear the voice of God”. This article is going to provide supportive reasoning for doing what you know to do when you know the difference.
One of the most common mistakes parents make is doing for their children what God wants them to learn for themselves. Does a child learn more about the power of electricity by hearing about it over and over again or from sticking a fork in an electrical outlet just one time? Exactly! So quit with the lectures and hand them a fork and let’s move on. Think of the time saved and the money on a new perm. It’s a win win. Ok, maybe I should try again to make my point. As parents it is difficult and painful to watch our kids learn. I for one would rather tie my kid’s shoes until he graduates high school as opposed to the painful agony of watching him take two minutes to tie his shoes; especially when we’re already late to church. Amen? As with most mistakes in life, if we just ask for God’s direction verses our good idea, we can save ourselves and those around us a lot of aggravation and perhaps embarrassment. Can you see the poor guy asking his prom date to tie his shoes? Not good.
Another big mistake made by parents and friends alike is the dreaded co-sign. Proverbs 22:26 NLT says,
“Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else”.
I know, I know; but, how are they supposed to build up credit? You’ll have to take that up with Dave Ramsey (Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money) and God. This goes beyond the financial risks involved which are obvious. You may say, “I don’t co-sign or lend money unless I am prepared to give it.” That addresses your problem, but what about the lesson God is trying to teach the other person?
Have you ever told a lie to cover for someone? Well, of course you don’t lie, but have you ever sugar-coated the facts to show someone some grace? Sounds more spiritual that way, doesn’t it? When we do this we keep the other person from even becoming aware of the problem. Self-awareness is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. If we keep saving people from themselves, they will remain emotionally handicapped.
We continue to throw out the life preserver over and over not realizing God is trying to teach them to swim, and we wonder why some of these people keep showing up needing to be saved time and time again. If we would just let God teach them how to swim, we would all be better off.