An acquaintance explained how much he enjoys being a husband and father. “I suppose that makes me codependent,” he said, apologetically.“No,” I said. “It means you like being married.”
It’s okay and, in fact, it is a godly thing to be involved in other people’s lives. We can become involved with others without becoming codependent. We can have a vibrant relationship with our spouse and with others without it becoming a codependent relationship. This healthy form of a relationship is called interdependence.
Interdependence means “to be mutually dependent on each other”. This word interdependence has been used to describe participants (2 or more) who may be emotionally, economically, ecologically, and/or morally reliant on and responsible to each other.
God wants us to be dependent on Him; but He has given us relationships in which we must learn to properly relate with each other. There is a healthy way of interacting with others (that is God’s way) and there is an unhealthy way which can lead to rescuing, control, manipulation, and codependency.
Galatians 6: 1-2 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and fulfil the law of Christ.” We are instructed according to these Scriptures, to get involved in the lives of other believers. We must engage in assisting fellow believers as outlined by the Bible. If we follow the Bible, we will have a healthy involvement in fellow believer’s lives.
The desire to help and assist is a virtuous one if done so in the right spirit. We are given this admonishing in Galatians 6:1-2 as noted above. We are directed by the Scriptures to restore a fellow Christian who has been overtaken in a fault. Regardless of why the person has been overtaken, we (who are walking in the Spirit or under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit) are to help bring that brother or sister back into a right relationship with God. Our directive is to restore; not to rescue. God uses us to restore and God does the rescuing. The word translated “restore” means “to set a broken bone”. We are to help position that person, like we would properly position a broken bone, so that healing may occur. We are not the healing agent. The healing agent in a believer’s life is Jesus Christ for He alone is the Great Physician and the balm of Gilead. How gentle and loving we must be when we seek to restore or position our fallen brothers and sisters, for what we do will affect them and the family of God. We over step our boundaries, when we act as the healing agent instead of the restorer. The rescuing or the healing is up to Jesus Christ.
We also read that we are to “bear ye one another’s burdens…” The word “bear” gives the meaning of supporting, holding up, or help to carry the burden of a fellow believer. This gives us the sense that we are here to assist our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are not here to solve their burdens or rescue them from their burdens. We are simply here to help or to assist them in their burdens. We cross the line into codependent behavior when we start taking on ourselves the responsibility that belongs only to God.
We see healthy relationship behavior in the life of Moses in Exodus 17: 1-7, “And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? Wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD saying, Is the LORD among us or not?”
The truth we are to follow is that we are to help restore brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to help position them so that God can work in their life.
The illustration found in Exodus 17:1-7 is a powerful one that demonstrates how we properly respond to those that have been overtaken in a fault. The people of Israel had been overtaken in a fault. That fault was murmuring or “chiding” about God’s leadership through His chosen man, Moses. The people of Israel were mad and frustrated because they had been led to a place that had no water and they themselves were thirsty.
It was the desire of Moses to restore the people or to position them in a proper place were healing could occur. Moses went to God in prayer asking for His guidance on what needed to be done to facilitate healing. God directed Moses to take his rod and “smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it that the people may drink.” The water would be there to satisfy the thirst of the people of Israel.
Moses restored or positioned the people so that their thirst could be quenched. But, the people of Israel had to drink of the water themselves of their own free will. Nowhere is it mentioned that Moses forced the people to drink of the water. Moses again positioned the people where they needed to be to make a decision to either follow God, and thus healing would follow; or reject God, where healing would not occur. Moses did not quench the thirst of the people, the water did. The water in this story represents Jesus Christ, the Living Water. Moses did his part in restoring or positioning the people of Israel and God did His part in healing or rescuing.
We see another illustration of this truth recorded for us in Numbers 21: 5-9, “And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread, And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”
In this portion of Scripture, the people of Israel have once again been overtaken in a fault. The people of Israel “spake against God, and against Moses” saying, “Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.”
The Lord, in response to their sin, sent “fiery serpents among the people.” When an individual was bitten by one of these fiery serpents they would die. The Bible goes on to tell us that “much people of Israel died”.
Moses, as led by God, desired to restore or position the people of Israel in a place where healing could occur. Moses went to God in prayer seeking God’s guidance and direction in this matter. “The LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
We see Moses doing what God instructed him to do. The people of Israel were positioned properly by Moses and all they had to do was look and live. Moses did not force any of the people to look upon the serpent. Each individual had to make this decision for himself. Healing is a decision that is made by between the individual and God – no third parties.
Moses did not heal them. They were healed when they, by faith, looked upon the brazen serpent. The brazen serpent represents Jesus Christ according to John 3:14 were the Bible says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
It is our biblical responsibility to help place fellow believers who have been overtaken in a fault in the right position where healing can occur if they so choose to follow Christ Who is the Healer, the Rescuer, and their Savior.