WHEN HELPING YOU IS HURTING ME
Jonah 1:1-15 (KJV)
There comes a time when you must draw a line in a bad relationship. What do you do when the person you continuously try to help becomes the source of your pain? How do you draw boundaries with people who bring storms in your life?
Such was the case with Jonah. God instructed Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach salvation to the inhabitants. Jonah rebelled and ran. He didn’t want to preach to the Ninevites because he knew the Word of God would save even them. The Ninevites were as cruel as they came. Jonah didn’t want to see the Ninevites saved so he fled in the opposite direction and boarded a ship headed for Tarshish attempting to flee the Presence of the Lord. God sent a storm to get his attention.
Isn’t it amazing how many storms we face that are of our own making? Just like Jonah we make decisions that defy God, disobey God, deny God and disrespect God as though He will sit idly by and say or do nothing. The problem is Jonah involved other people in his feud with God and they became additional victims of his storm. The storm almost broke the ship in two. The sailors began throwing cargo overboard trying to get to shore.
Here is the kicker! While the sailors were working Jonah was in the hull of the ship fast asleep. (lol)… The captain woke Jonah and the sailors drew lots to see who had offended the “gods”. The short lot fell on Jonah so they asked him,“What did you do to bring this storm into our lives?” Jonah replied, “I am running from God!” Immediately the storm became worse. Finally, Jonah said, “Alright it’s me! I’m the reason for the storm. Throw me overboard!” The sailors wanted to help Jonah so they began to row harder to get to land but the more they rowed the more the storm raged. They finally prayed to Jonah’s God. “Lord don’t let us die for his sins and don’t hold us responsible for his death if we throw him overboard.” They picked up Jonah and threw him over the ship and the storm ceased.
The story of Jonah is about a man who brought chaos into the lives of others because of his disobedience to God. Here is how it happened:
He Refused His Assignment Of Liberation: God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach salvation and he refused. What is God calling you to do?
He Brought Chaos To A Normal Situation: Normal sailing became chaotic because Jonah tried to hide from God. You can run but you can’t hide!
He Created An Environment Of Desperation: The sailors were in the struggle of their life due to Jonah’s rebellious behavior towards God. Jonah confessed, “I am the reason for the storm.” They ignored Jonah’s admission and suffered the consequences.
How much chaos do you cause in the lives of others because you have failed to do what God has told you to do? Does your family suffer because of your disobedience? How many people with good intentions have become victims of your storm? Or maybe you are trying to help someone through a storm that God has no intentions of calming until they take ownership of their own mess. Consider this:
There Are Some People You Cannot Help
- You Cannot Help A Person Who Runs From The Word Of God: Jonah ran from the Word of God. A person who refuses scriptural solutions as a means to cease the storms in their life cannot be helped. You cannot support what God rejects even in the life of people you want to help.
- You Cannot Help A Person That Wants You To Do All The Work: When the storm hit the ship, the sailors worked while Jonah slept. There are some people that will never lift a finger to facilitate their safety. They will let you do all of the work and never learn from their errors because they know that you make all the necessary corrections for them.
- You Cannot Help A Person That Does Not Respect Boundaries: Boundaries are established to protect you and place responsibility where it belongs. Jonah knew his disobedience would effect the lives of others yet he still boarded the ship. He did not respect the boundaries of others. The sailors kept trying to help Jonah but the storm became worse. They prayed for Jonah and threw him overboard.
People like Jonah are insensitive to your peace and imposing with their problems. Jonah was the type of person that never looked for a job, never prayed for a job or never thought about a job but would move in with you while you struggled to make ends meet with your four children. Jonah would eat up everything in the refrigerator, drink up the last drop of kool aid and never replace it. Jonah relaxes around “your” house all day playing video games while you are at work to put food on the table.
Why is Jonah so insensitive? Because you set no boundaries with Jonah and there are no rules and regulations in the relationship and you have become Jonah’s sponsor. This is why “your” Jonah can sleep through a storm because he knows that you will take care of him.
This may seem strange to the mother that still takes care of her grown children and they have never learned to take care of themselves. This may seem strange for the girlfriend that has a small garden apartment, minimum wage job but dates a guy with no job who uses her for sex, cigarettes and beer. This may seem strange to the person who becomes the enabler for the drug addict by allowing them to bring their storms into their life. The truth is, boundaries are necessary! Not only to protect you but to place responsibility where it belongs.
How To Create Boundaries In A Bad Relationship?
- Ask God The Relevant Questions: Ask God to show you who the person really is. The person may be able to sincerely benefit from your help but not if God is trying to teach them a lesson. When God punishes His children we must get out of the way lest we stand the risk of experiencing the persecution.
- Listen To What People Say: Jonah said, “It’s me. I am the cause of the storm.” Some people will tell you up front, “I’m no good for you.” Maya Angelou said, “When a person tells you who they are believe them.”
- Come To Grips With The Fact That You Cannot Help A Person That Will Not Help Themselves: When the storm came the sailors worked while Jonah slept. Some people will not lift a finger to facilitate their safety but they will let you do all of the work. They will never learn from their errors if you make all the necessary corrections for them.
- Know When To Draw The Line: Boundaries are established to protect you and place responsibility where it belongs. Jonah said, “I am the reason for the storm!” The more the men tried to help Jonah the worse the storm became. They prayed for Jonah and threw him overboard. There comes a time when you must “cut ties” and leave the person in the Hands of God. Ask God for wisdom in your relationship to “Know when to hold em! Know when to fold em! Know when to walk away! Know when to run!”
- Trust God’s Direction For Your Relationship And Watch These Three Things Happen:
Your Life Will Become Calmer
Your Focus Will Become Clearer
Your Destination Will Become Closer
Draw the line and pray for your Jonah,
Dr. Oscar T. Moses