Being An Enabler
by Rick Liggin

In the field of civil law, there are sometimes people who "aid and abet" criminals, and there are also those who "contribute to the delinquency of a minor." To do either of these is against the law, and those who do it become criminals themselves. In the field of psychology, there are sometimes people who are identified as "enablers," because they enable others (often their own loved ones) to be involved in addictive behavior. "Enablers" are not necessarily people who would themselves participate in the addictive conduct; they may actually even oppose it. But by their actions they make it easy for the addict to continue in his addiction.

In spiritual matters, we also unfortunately have people who "aid and abet" evildoers, or who "contribute to the delinquency" of sinners, or who become "enablers" of those who are doing wrong! Now, you might be thinking of those who practice deeds that are "worthy of death," while also giving "hearty approval" to those who practice "such things" (Romans 1:32). But these are not the "enablers" we are talking about. The "enablers" we are talking about would not practice the sins that they "aid and abet." In fact, they would oppose and carefully avoid such practices in their own lives. And yet, they enable others (especially when the "others" are their own family or loved ones) to practice sinful behavior. 

How does that happen? In what way do they "aid and abet" evildoers or "enable" those who are given to sin?

Often, it is done by downplaying the person's sin or by even offering excuses for the "poor helpless sinner." More often than not, they enable sinners by their silence. Instead of lovingly confronting the sinner (Matt. 18:15) and exposing his crime (Eph. 5:11), they ignore the sin and pretend it isn't really happening. Even worse, they hamper the local church's efforts to correct the sinner by continuing to socialize and associate with the one who has been collectively disciplined by the group (1 Cor. 5:1-13). When will we learn that this does not help the sinner to correct his ways? It only enables him to continue in his evil deeds!

Don't you dare be an "enabler" of sin! Don't you dare "contribute to the delinquency" of one who is caught up in a trespass or "aid and abet" a sinner in the error of his way! Instead, be an encourager and "enabler" of that which is good, even if it means you must confront and oppose someone you love. If you really love someone in sin, you will not enable him to continue in the error of his way; you will, instead, do whatever you can to turn him back to "save his soul from death" and to "cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).