Literally loving someone to death…

I knew it would happen.

It broke my heart but I wasn’t surprised. In truth, we expected it before now.

Jake’s mom first called us three years ago. She was at the end of her rope. Again. Jake had just gotten out of jail, was in a local residential motel, and needed help.

We went to see him. Charming and charismatic, it was hard not to like him. He wanted to get a job, get involved in church, change his life. Sure, we heard this every day from people on the streets but we weren’t jaded. We took everything at face value and gave everyone a chance.

He did better than most. He DID get a job, on his own, and rode his bike from the motel to work daily. I picked him up for church on Sundays and he seemed to be staying sober.

It concerned me a little that his mom called us to check on him every day. He was 30, after all, and twice-divorced. During these calls she would tell us what she thought he needed. Polite but firm, we told her he seemed to be exactly where the Lord wanted him to be.

After a couple of months, the opportunity arose for him to get an apartment near his work. He’d been saving up for a car and this move, with the expenses paid for six months, would allow him to earn the money for the car as well as to be in a safe neighborhood. He was excited.

His mom, however, was so excited that he was doing well that she talked him out of moving into an apartment and had him move back home instead. A pattern that had been unsuccessfully repeated many times in their relationship.

That was the last time he came to church.

He quit his job a week later.

Two months after that he called in the middle of the night, terrified. He’d been jumped and stripped of all his belongings. He wasn’t allowed back home and he had nowhere to go. He wanted money for a hotel room.

There was nothing we could do. The Lord had opened doors for him and he blatantly slammed them shut. We gave him resources for shelter for the night but we didn’t bail him out.

His mom had done that already, one time too many.

They repeated the process a couple more times before he did one drug too many.

And then it was over. This time his mom couldn’t fix anything.

I don’t understand.

Actually, I do understand as I’ve seen it time and time again. Even in my own family.

We get a lot of calls from family members wanting help/rehab/counseling for their grown children. It’s when I’m having more of a conversation with Mom or Dad than the one needing help that I get worried. God can’t fix things when we get in His way. And sometimes, a person needs consequences to learn valuable lessons.

What feels like love for another often becomes love for your own self, as it becomes more about how YOU feel than the person needing help.

This is where faith comes in. You must trust in the Lord because He can do exceedingly more than you can for that loved one.

Don’t love them to death…

I know Jake’s mom would agree.


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