What Does The Bible Say About Enabling

The Bible is full of advice and wisdom about human behaviour, relationships, and the way we should live our lives. One particular issue that is addressed in many places in the Bible is enabling, or the act of helping someone who does not really have the capacity to help themselves. Enabling can be beneficial for someone who is having difficulty with a particular situation, but it can also be detrimental if it is done with the wrong intentions or in an inappropriate manner. In this article, we will look at what the Bible has to say about enabling and what implications this has for our lives.

The Bible cautions us against showing partiality to others in providing help. James 2:1 states: “My brothers, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality.” This means that we should treat everyone the same and not enable someone to the exclusion of others, which would go against God’s command to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Enabling is not about favouring one person over another, but about providing equal help to everyone who needs it.

The Bible also warns us against enabling someone who may be in a bad situation. Proverbs 13:11 states: “Wealth gained hastily will decrease, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” This verse speaks to the idea of taking care and not enabling someone who is in a bad situation, but instead encouraging them to get out of it in a responsible and careful way. In other words, enabling someone out of their difficult situation should not be done in a way that allows them to avoid the consequences of their actions, but should be done in a way that allows them to take ownership of their actions and take responsibility for the situation.

The Bible also advises us that enabling someone should be done with love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 states: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” This verse explains to us that enabling someone with the right intentions and in the right way should come from a place of love, not fear or judgment.

Finally, the Bible tells us that enabling someone can often be a sign of weakness. Proverbs 28:7 states: “He who keeps the law [of God] is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father” This verse is a caution to us that enabling someone should not be done in a way that puts us in a vulnerable or embarrassing situation. Enabling someone should be done in a way that serves to benefit them and does not put us at risk in any way. Enabling someone out of love can bring about much greater benefits than if it is done out of fear or judgment.

Enabling vs. Helping

It is important to understand the difference between enabling and helping. Enabling is done with the intention of relieving another from the consequences of their own actions while helping is done with the intention of assisting the person to develop the skills or capacity to take care of themselves. In other words, enabling is done to avoid taking ownership, while helping is done to empower someone to be self-sufficient. It is thus important to be careful when helping someone to ensure that what is being done is genuinely beneficial and not merely enabling them in a way that ultimately harms them.

The Cost of Enabling

Enabling can sometimes have unintended or harmful consequences. If someone is enabled in a way that relieves them from the consequences of their actions without allowing them to take ownership and responsibility for their actions, it can lead to a feeling of helplessness, lack of ownership, and even resentment. Furthermore, enabling someone can sometimes be more costly than not enabling them. Enabling can lead to costly financial obligations and can lead to the enabling person being taken advantage of and likely to experience negative consequences such as self-doubt and low self-esteem. It is thus important to be mindful of the potential cost of enabling someone and consider the pros and cons carefully before making any decisions.

Alternatives to Enabling

If you are considering enabling someone, it is important to consider other alternatives. Rather than enabling someone, it is often more beneficial to try to help them by teaching them how to be self-sufficient and giving them advice and knowledge that will help them in their current situation. Giving someone a hand-up rather than a hand-out can often be a more helpful and effective way of helping someone, as it can lead to better results in the long-term. Furthermore, providing emotional support, validation, and empathy can also be helpful in helping someone develop the resilience and capacity to deal with their situation effectively.

The Benefits of Enabling

Although enabling someone can have detrimental effects on their lives if not done responsibly, it can also have beneficial effects. Enabling can help someone out of a difficult situation and can provide them with the necessary motivation and resources to be empowered to take control of their lives. In many cases, enabling can be beneficial if done correctly, as it can provide the necessary support to help someone out of a difficult situation and give them the help they need to move forward. Enabling can also lead to improved relationships, as it can provide an opportunity for mutual growth and trust.


The Bible contains a great deal of wisdom and advice on enabling and how it should be done. It is clear that enabling should not be done to the exclusion of others or with the wrong intentions, and that it should always be done out of love and with the intention of helping someone to become self-sufficient. It is also important to be aware of the potential costs of enabling and to explore alternatives that can be more beneficial for the person being helped. Ultimately, understanding the Bible’s teachings about enabling can help us make better decisions about how to help others in a responsible and loving way.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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