We are called to be Holy and to live righteously before God. We are also called to be a light in this dark world, but what happens when you become entangled in helping others?
Merriam-Webster defines entanglement as something that entangles, confuses, or ensnares. The condition of being deeply involved. Synonyms for entanglement are web, mesh, net, noose, quicksand, snare, toil, and trap.
Free Dictionary defines entanglement as twisting together or entwine into a confusing mass. To complicate or confuse.
Have you ever tried to help someone repeatedly and felt you were getting entangled in their problems?
The more you try and help the more you feel like you are getting into quicksand and you feel there is no answer to their situations, which in turn causes you frustration. You start second guessing if you are a “real Christian.” You feel a sense of false guilt over not being able to cope and handle all the problems that others bring to you. Many times the very people you are entangled with are piling heaps of guilt and manipulation upon you. This is especially difficult when dealing with loved ones and family. There is a deeper entanglement that comes from the ones we love. We don’t want them to suffer and to hurt, but what happens when all the helping is not helping but hurting you?
The enemy will bring situations and people into you path to distract and derail your purposes. There are some signs to watch for when you have gone too deep with someone.
1. Did you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to intervene or was it pressure from the other person or a desire to please?
2. Are you struggling with your walk with God? Feeling spiritually bankrupt? Your time with God is lacking and you are having trouble focusing on hearing God’s voice.
3. You may feel discouraged, defeated, and like a failure.
4. You feel stress, turmoil, tension, strife, chaos, and confusion.
5. You can’t seem to get a clear or direct answer from the person you are trying to help. It seems when you talk with the person you are trying to help it appears muddy or confusing.
6. You may experience fatigue and even sickness.
7. The person you are trying to help does not listen to the advice you are trying to give to them, and they continue to do what they are doing; meanwhile still wanting you to fix their problems.
8. You begin to feel frustrated, irritable, and maybe even angry.
9. You are consumed with trying to intervene, and maybe even losing sleep as a result. Your focus is on their situation, and not on Christ.
10. Your peace is gone and joy has dissipated.
11. No amount of intervention or help is never enough for the person or people you are entangled with.
12. You feel emotionally, physically and spiritually drained.
13. You feel distracted and out of balance.
14. You feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster ride with their issues.
15. You try and point them to Jesus but discern they are not sincere in seeking Him.
You may be dealing with a toxic person. To get entangled in a toxic person’s issues is dangerous to your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Not all people who say they want help, in fact really want help.
If the Holy Spirit is leading you, there will be harmony, peace, and a desire to be around the other person you are trying to help. If you begin to dread being around that person or talking to them, it is a sign that it is not a healthy relationship and the Holy Spirit is not directing you.
Restoration and reconciliation are always hoped for in these types of relationships, but until Christ is at the center some precautions need to be made for your sanity.
1. Take a time-out from these destructive relationships. Regain your peace and order. Ask the Lord Jesus to step-in and take full control, and you step out before you go under with them.
2. Confront in love. The person that repeatedly causes drama and chaos in your life should be confronted as the Holy Spirit directs. Don’t do this in anger, but with the hope of true repentance.
3. Set proper boundaries and consequences. This is important in dealing with ones who say they are sorry but continue to repeat the same behaviors over and over again. You will need to keep a guard up, and observe their behavior for a time (a solid year of consistent behavior is a good indication of true change), before realigning your life to theirs.
4. Keep in mind that Jesus is not expecting to wear yourself out to help others who are not really helping themselves.
5. Begin taking care of you and foster the good and positive relationships in your life. Stay away from toxic and negative people as much as possible. Nurture yourself and love yourself.
6. Many times when we are engaged with other toxic people we neglect our other relationships that are satisfying. Take time to rebuild and restore satisfying relationships.
7. Forgive yourself and let go of all guilt. Guilt is a tool straight from the pit of hell. It NEVER comes from God.
Remain in love and forgiveness towards ones who abuse and hurt you. Don’t allow any bitterness or anger to cause you to stumble.
Sometimes we have to “let go and let God,” and that can include letting go of people who really don’t want help.
Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1, KJV
Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 2 Timothy 2:4, NLT