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Old 07-13-2007, 11:53 AM
 
50 posts, read 113,369 times
Reputation: 36

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This is long and wordy - sorry. This is about my personal sisters, but a lot of people might be able to relate to it. It's about one person constantly helping another person with no thanks, respect, or even attempt at paying debt back. When can the one stop helping. Does the Bible give you permission to stop helping? How does the one forgive the other for asking so much of them and how does the one person forgive themselves for giving so much of themselves?

My sisters are in their 50's and the one has helped the other with money, groceries, a place to live, and other things since they were 18 years old. Let's say the one helping is Thelma and the one getting helped is Louise (just so I don't use their real names, but the situation is real). Louise would call Thelma and cry saying they cut off her water and she doesn't know what to do. Thelma would run over that day and pay Louise's water bill - of course an extremely high amount - and have her water turned on. Louise would call and cry saying she had no food for her and her 4 kids. Thelma would drop everything and go grocery shopping and take hundreds of dollars of groceries to Louise's house. Louise had no place to live - Thelma let her and her kids move in - rent free- to the apartment that she had built in her basement of her house - which was intended for her own adult daughter - and pay for all groceries, cook all meals, clean up after Louise and her kids - Louise seemed to sleep a lot then get up and go out with friends! She was in her 40's!!!!

No matter how much help Thelma gave Louise, Louise always needed more help. As an overexagerated example; Thelma could have given Louise a completely paid off house, groceries for 5 years, a brand new car, and $500 spending money per week, and within 2 months, Louise would have blown up the car, lost the money, moved 50 people in the house who would wreck it, and let them all eat all the groceries, and the whole time bad mouth Thelma)

So you get the picture - for about 30 years now, Thelma has been giving who knows how much money and time to help Louise. Thelma, her husband, and 3 kids sacrificed a lot of money and time to run to give aid to Louise.

The entire time, Louise and her children would be disrespectful to Thelma and her family. They talked trash about them behind their backs, sometimes even told them off to their faces. But Thelma still felt the need to help her sister.

Now Thelma is completely heart-broken and doesn't understand why Louise treats her like she does. She is also very angry with Louise for constantly requesting help from her and angry with herself for not being able to say "no". Thelma feels guilty about setting her own children's needs and wants aside. She realizes how much more she could have done with and for her own children if she hadn't given so much to her sister.

Thelma knows she needs to stop helping Louise - because of helping her, Thelma now has no retirement money and debt that she only incurred in order to help Louise. Thelma is working herself to death to get the money that she needs to keep herself financially afloat.

I know that in the Bible it says to turn the other cheek and when asked how many times, basically the answer is turn the other cheek over and over - never stop turning the other cheek. But there comes a time when you have to stop helping especially that same person. Is there anything in the Bible that would agree with my opinion?

I want to make Thelma understand that enough is enough - she needs to stop helping her sister. Thelma wants to stop helping Louise, but can't bring herself to. Thelma is constantly upset and mentally overwhelmed with the stress, guilt, financial strain, and emotional pain. I am very worried that if she doesn't have a heart attack from the work she's doing to get income, she will have a stroke or heart attack just from being so emotionally upset constantly.

In my opinion, she really needs to find peace. I think she needs to stop helping her sister. I think she needs to forgive her sister for treating her badly and feeling like she had the right to more or less live off her for years, and she needs to forgive herself for taking so much from her family to give to her sister. I also worry for Thelma because of the verse that says something like - for whatever trespasses (debt) you forgive, I will also forgive you, but if you don't forgive others, neither will you be forgiven. Are there any quotes in the Bible you can think of that would help her?

Thanks for reading all this!
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Ohio, but moving to El Paso, TX August/September
431 posts, read 1,212,227 times
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This isn't a Biblical or religious response, but Thelma needs to stop being a doormat.

Here's a religious response next time Louise asks for something: The good lord helps those who help themselves.
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Plano, Texas
8,640 posts, read 14,775,749 times
Reputation: 21135
Default There is a limit...

Wow, what a situation. I can relate to Thelma because I tend to have mercy on people to the point that it is no longer good for them. In other words, it's hard for me to cut it off at some point too. Because as you pointed out, the word does exhort to give and go the extra mile etc. But even though that is my personal tendency, I also know that it is wisdom and love to at some point exercise good judgment about how far to go.

I don't know that I have a particular scripture for you on this, maybe some others will. The scripture that comes to mind and I don't know if this fits or not but it's the one in Thessalonians in which Paul basically says, "If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either." 2 Thessalonians 3:10. NASB In other words, we shouldn't become "enablers" for people to continue making wrong choices. There is a place for "tough love." Sounds like your sister Thelma needs to realize this and slowly set some boundaries for your sister Louise. But you will not be able to make Thelma do this either. This is a choice and decision she has to obviously choose and implement herself.

Others on this forum may view this situation differently but this is my take on it since you asked.

Last edited by kaykay; 07-13-2007 at 12:45 PM..
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:08 PM
 
50 posts, read 113,369 times
Reputation: 36
Thelma does want to stop she sees that she needs to stop helping Louise, she just can't let herself - because of her moral and Christian beliefs - and it's her sister. So my idea is that if I can show her where God/Jesus is giving her permission to stop helping her sister, maybe she will allow herself to do what she does want to do which is stop helping her.
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:12 PM
 
646 posts, read 1,122,185 times
Reputation: 190
Thelma has helped Louise enough. In fact, by giving her such support, she has probably hurt Louise, as Louise has never had the need or chance to support herself.

A strict timeline should be set, and enforced, after which no help should be offered.

Thelma should tell Louise that she has 60 days to find a place to live and pay her own bills, because after that time, there will be not one dime of support coming.
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Plano, Texas
8,640 posts, read 14,775,749 times
Reputation: 21135
Quote:
Originally Posted by vacationsover View Post
Thelma does want to stop she sees that she needs to stop helping Louise, she just can't let herself - because of her moral and Christian beliefs - and it's her sister. So my idea is that if I can show her where God/Jesus is giving her permission to stop helping her sister, maybe she will allow herself to do what she does want to do which is stop helping her.
Well, again, I don't know that the verse I gave above fully applies to this situation but I do think it may apply in principle--that there is a place in which we are harming people and not helping by enabling them not to take the responsibility they should be taking. This may or not apply to Louise, but it sounds like it does just from what you have written.
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, MI
3,490 posts, read 365,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vacationsover View Post
Thelma does want to stop she sees that she needs to stop helping Louise, she just can't let herself - because of her moral and Christian beliefs - and it's her sister. So my idea is that if I can show her where God/Jesus is giving her permission to stop helping her sister, maybe she will allow herself to do what she does want to do which is stop helping her.
Oh man, how horrible! I think kay's advice is right on, and you should pray that God gives you the words to say to this poor woman. God has called her to be a Christian, not a doormat!!! The Bible does say, basically, if you don't work, you don't eat. On the whole, while I can't think of a verse offhand, the Bible stresses personal accountability, to ourselves, to God, to others. Thelma has more than done her part. I'll keep looking for some verses!
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:27 PM
 
508 posts, read 1,142,538 times
Reputation: 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by vacationsover View Post
This is long and wordy - sorry. This is about my personal sisters, but a lot of people might be able to relate to it. It's about one person constantly helping another person with no thanks, respect, or even attempt at paying debt back. When can the one stop helping. Does the Bible give you permission to stop helping? How does the one forgive the other for asking so much of them and how does the one person forgive themselves for giving so much of themselves?

My sisters are in their 50's and the one has helped the other with money, groceries, a place to live, and other things since they were 18 years old. Let's say the one helping is Thelma and the one getting helped is Louise (just so I don't use their real names, but the situation is real). Louise would call Thelma and cry saying they cut off her water and she doesn't know what to do. Thelma would run over that day and pay Louise's water bill - of course an extremely high amount - and have her water turned on. Louise would call and cry saying she had no food for her and her 4 kids. Thelma would drop everything and go grocery shopping and take hundreds of dollars of groceries to Louise's house. Louise had no place to live - Thelma let her and her kids move in - rent free- to the apartment that she had built in her basement of her house - which was intended for her own adult daughter - and pay for all groceries, cook all meals, clean up after Louise and her kids - Louise seemed to sleep a lot then get up and go out with friends! She was in her 40's!!!!

No matter how much help Thelma gave Louise, Louise always needed more help. As an overexagerated example; Thelma could have given Louise a completely paid off house, groceries for 5 years, a brand new car, and $500 spending money per week, and within 2 months, Louise would have blown up the car, lost the money, moved 50 people in the house who would wreck it, and let them all eat all the groceries, and the whole time bad mouth Thelma)

So you get the picture - for about 30 years now, Thelma has been giving who knows how much money and time to help Louise. Thelma, her husband, and 3 kids sacrificed a lot of money and time to run to give aid to Louise.

The entire time, Louise and her children would be disrespectful to Thelma and her family. They talked trash about them behind their backs, sometimes even told them off to their faces. But Thelma still felt the need to help her sister.

Now Thelma is completely heart-broken and doesn't understand why Louise treats her like she does. She is also very angry with Louise for constantly requesting help from her and angry with herself for not being able to say "no". Thelma feels guilty about setting her own children's needs and wants aside. She realizes how much more she could have done with and for her own children if she hadn't given so much to her sister.

Thelma knows she needs to stop helping Louise - because of helping her, Thelma now has no retirement money and debt that she only incurred in order to help Louise. Thelma is working herself to death to get the money that she needs to keep herself financially afloat.

I know that in the Bible it says to turn the other cheek and when asked how many times, basically the answer is turn the other cheek over and over - never stop turning the other cheek. But there comes a time when you have to stop helping especially that same person. Is there anything in the Bible that would agree with my opinion?

I want to make Thelma understand that enough is enough - she needs to stop helping her sister. Thelma wants to stop helping Louise, but can't bring herself to. Thelma is constantly upset and mentally overwhelmed with the stress, guilt, financial strain, and emotional pain. I am very worried that if she doesn't have a heart attack from the work she's doing to get income, she will have a stroke or heart attack just from being so emotionally upset constantly.

In my opinion, she really needs to find peace. I think she needs to stop helping her sister. I think she needs to forgive her sister for treating her badly and feeling like she had the right to more or less live off her for years, and she needs to forgive herself for taking so much from her family to give to her sister. I also worry for Thelma because of the verse that says something like - for whatever trespasses (debt) you forgive, I will also forgive you, but if you don't forgive others, neither will you be forgiven. Are there any quotes in the Bible you can think of that would help her?

Thanks for reading all this!

This is NOT help. It is enabling. One is Christ based, the other is certainy not.
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Plano, Texas
8,640 posts, read 14,775,749 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brittZ View Post
This is NOT help. It is enabling. One is Christ based, the other is certainy not.
This is succinctly put and absolutely right IMO.
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:42 PM
 
6,978 posts, read 16,628,511 times
Reputation: 6527
What does it mean, "Don't cast your pearls before swine?"

If she doesn't continue to help, she is going to feel even more guilt than she does now. If anything bad happens, she's going to feel even worse.

Tough times. There's no good solution until the kids grow up big enough to help there mother. I'm betting that they will be the type to move out as fast as they can an never look back.
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