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The Cost of Love

Does the Bible promote Enabling over Support and Co-Dependency over Co-Existence?

33"Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:34 (NIV)

This video was brought to my attention recently and if the girl wasn't so serious you would think she was joking. But she's not. This 15 year old girl firmly believes her working mother needs to give her $2,500.00 a month to maintain her lifestyle that's she's become accustom to. Her mother apparently cut her allowance down to $1,000 and that brought them to the Dr. Phil TV show where she confronted her mother on national television.

There is great advise in Galatians 5 of the Bible that warns us against following our selfish desires and calls it, "the acts of the flesh:"

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV)

As a parent I'm amazed that this girl's perception could be so skewed toward the negative concept of entitlement. As a therapist I know this paradigm is all to familiar with parents today. I hear stories from parents who were raised in poverty, who purposefully worked all their lives to build a "good life," one that provides their children security, options, and resources that they never had as children. These well-intended parents give to their children from their resources as an act of love. They want to share those rewards of labor with the people they love the most- their immediate family. Unfortunately, this love and giving can come back to bite them in the rear when the children reach the age of personal awareness and believe that they "should" receive whatever they want just because of their familial relationship with the generous parent. Anything less than unconditional, unrestricted giving is seen as an assault on the child's ability to enjoy life and therefor is considered abuse by the child.

This girls paradigm is one that may never change unfortunately. She may punish her mother for the rest of her mother's life for her failure to give her what she wants. The punishments can come in angry outbursts, temper tantrums, or in total withdraw and the "silent treatment." Either way, the mother who once gave so freely pulls further and further away to protect herself and her broken heart. Sometimes the most good you can do for someone feels like the wrong thing to do. Sometimes setting healthy boundaries feels like intentional hurt.

It is never easy being a parent. There is no instruction manual and we do the best we can with the gifts we're given. Parents, please give gifts to your children, but let those gifts be the gifts of the spirit. Encourage your children to be responsible, caring, sensitive, compassionate, and empathetic to the needs of others:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV)

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