When is enough?

How many times must I forgive my brother, Lord?   So says Peter in  a question to Jesus Howmanytimes, Peter postulates a good number up to seven times my Lord? Jesus replies not up to seven times, Peter is probably thinking phew that is not so hard then when Jesus hits him with the knockout,

haymaker, king hit, perhaps even a sucker punch and says no no no not seven times but seventy times seven, he carries on with a parable, quite a good one too however it is not the sermon on the mount or indeed the sermon on WordPress that I want to write but it is about forgiveness or is it?  I have written before about being a helping person, mused about when is enough enough and yet here I am still considering my position.I have helped a lot of people in the past, many have been written off as hopeless cases, burnt their bridges, done their dash and probably fairly so people have enough.

When is it time to say no to somebody, to let them sink or swim? Often this kind of decision can be made in haste usually after offence has been caused, some infringement, harm, loss, caused by the person who is needing the help.  The old adage don’t bite the hand that feeds you slips into my mind readily here, I don’t understand too well why it is that some people end up hurting or lashing out at those who are helping them. However, digressing here back to forgiving.

What is it that drives me to continue to help people that others have given up on, is it a kind of stubbornness, am I an intransigent type, obdurate, expressing a contumacy for the views of people that write off others.  Not that I don’t understand that when people have tried and tried and tried to help those close to them but they just don’t change and instead of being able to walk away from them one needs to disparage them, actively write them off, and encourage others not to invest their time or energy into helping them.  This is however not a post about other peoples behavior, I am not exploring the karpman triangle here where oppressors,victims and rescuers interact Karpman (dreaded drama) triangle, I am not sure that this is particularly helpful or even accurate as it is often misquoted and more often by those who have been rescued and then decide to follow their own paths which often end up down the same path, perhaps Karpman is a form of apologetics but not so reasoned.

I think at the bottom of my drive to help is an enduring desire to see people reach their potential, an acknowledgement that for some people the circumstances of their lives are truly difficult if not horrendous, an acknowledgement that life is not fair and a deeply held belief of the possibility of hope and redemption for all.  Naive, hopeful if not down right idiotic or deceived, all descriptions that could be applied to me and I have been all of them at some time or another. I am also far from a saint and have to struggle at times with judgmental behaviour and attitudes.

I have to admit that right now I feel the most helpless that I have ever felt.  I just don’t have the energy emotionally or physically to deal with the hard cases of life, lots of reasons for that and perhaps it is a good thing. The ability that I need to hone in amongst this is when to let go and how to do so in a respectful and honorable way, starting with myself having enough self respect to know when to take care of myself and those people with whom I am in relationship to, either as a parent, husband or friend.  Not an easy task per se however, most things that are worthwhile do not come easily.

Paul

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