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No one likes to see those we love continue to make bad choices. And we often grow frustrated in encouraging them to do better as we keep cleaning up their messes. Sometimes the best teacher is reality itself and we must simply get out of the way.

There’s a way life works – every choice comes with a cost and every action comes with a consequence. This is the basic law of the harvest.

For instance, we’re likely to break our hand if we punch a brick wall. The wall doesn’t care about our feelings; it’s just the way things work.

And this weight of reality holds throughout life.

We lose our jobs if we don’t show up to work. And our relationships deteriorate when we remain selfish.

But often we find ourselves tempted to save others from the consequences of their bad choices – keeping them employed or doing more than our fair share in the relationship, for example.

Perhaps we just don’t want to give up on them. Or we simply hate the thought of seeing them spiral and make things worse.

But this help is not usually helpful in the long run.

We rob people of the chance to befriend and learn from reality when we save them from the natural consequences of their choices.

And, as such, they never learn to navigate life on their own two feet and remain dependent on our “help.” They might actually get mad at us when we allow them to own their own choices.

But our cycle of frustration continues until we get out of the way and allow them to face reality for themselves.

This is risky and potentially very costly. But the alternative is to continue taking on their responsibility as our own.

A better approach is letting reality teach.

Encourage, guide, and support whenever you can. But don’t block the lessons of reality. For many, this is the only teacher they cannot ignore.

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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