I spoke with a number of “rescuers” this week. These are individuals who are driven to rescue other people from the consequences of those folks’ own choices, often at great emotional, physical, and financial cost to themselves. Rescuers say things like:
“I know this is not the best relationship for me but if I break up with him he will fall apart; he doesn’t have anyone else but me.”
“My son will fail science this term if I don’t cancel my plans to help him with his project this weekend.”
“I know they over obligate to things but I need to leave my family to go assist or they will be doing it all alone.”
“She left a message that she was going to commit suicide unless I came right away. I know this is the fourth time this week but I don’t want her to die.”
You probably see the trend. People all around us make poor choices or avoid taking responsibility for their own lives; but when natural consequences arise, a “rescuer” is insistent that he or she must help alleviate pain or trouble in that other person’s life.
This is not to be confused with compassion, which is a good thing. The Bible tells us to be kind hearted and compassionate. No, for a rescuer it goes way beyond compassion into the realm of compulsion; the irrational need to help at all cost.
During sessions this last week, the Lord made it real clear to some folks that when they rescue people, they rob Him of the opportunity to show His power in that person’s life. When struggling people are always being rescued, there is little need to reach out and be available to God (basically, “I don’t need God if I have Jim”). This is one of the main reasons I consistently defer to Jesus in ministry sessions. “Let’s ask Jesus” is a highly repeated phrase in my office.
One last thought. Solomon, an incredibly wise man, once wrote this:
“A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” Proverbs 19:19
I think you see the point.