How Far Do You Go to Help Someone?
You see a friend heading in the wrong direction. If they continue on this course of action they’ll get hurt. But will you risk hurting your relationship with them if you try to stop them?
Each day we all make choices:
Some are good.
Some are bad.
Some make a difference.
Some don’t make much of a difference.
Some make people happy.
Some make them angry.
You get the gist. But what if while we’re walking down our path of life we run into someone who is headed for a cliff? You start walking toward them. They increase their pace. You increase yours. They’re almost to the edge. You shout out, “Stop! You’re going to fall!”
But they ignore you.
And as you run towards them, they jump.
This may be a drastic example, but it can happen. It may be that they’ve been altering figures in the accounting department a friend works in, but no one’s noticed, so they keep doing it. But truthfully, someone has noticed. You. You sit down with them and explain that they may not only lose their job, but they could end up in jail.
But they don’t listen.
Do you risk your friendship, by threatening to tell the boss what you’re friend’s doing? After all, you could be in trouble too because you know what they’ve been doing and haven’t reported it yet.
Your friend may have told you recently that their doctor told them to stop eating fried foods and sugar because their arteries are clogged. They’re heading fast toward a heart attack. You sit down with them after their appointment, and try to help them by showing them some diet and exercise changes that they can make. You tell them you’re with them all the way, and they can count on your help.
But they don’t listen.
Once again, do you risk your friendship by telling their wife how bad it is? Your friend doesn’t want you to, because he knows she’ll be furious with him and make him go on a diet. But isn’t saving their life more important than losing your friendship?
In both of these examples, it’s a matter of how far you are willing to go to help a friend. Cnn.com posts the article, “Self-destructive Friends – What to do?” The article discusses roots of self-destructive behavior, setting boundaries and helping someone for the wrong reasons. They also discuss one way to finding a balance in helping someone is to set expectations, but don’t make demands.
When wanting to stop a friend before they jump off a cliff, it’s important to think about how far you are willing to go to help someone. If they are in mortal danger, by all means help them or get them the help they need. Remember, if you think someone is in such a bad place that they’re talking about killing themselves dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.
It’s important to be the kind of friend who will help another when they fall down, but be careful. Your friendship may be at stake, and your life may be affected in a negative way if you go too far when helping a friend. Find some balance, and ask God to give you the wisdom to know what to do.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.