How can I keep from enabling someone else to sin?

Sin is a decision that is rooted in a heart that is not fully surrendered to Christ (Matthew 15:18–19). The condition of our hearts is our own personal responsibility. The choices we make, the ways we spend our time, and the people we spend it with, are a few of the things that affect the states of our hearts. Even though we may influence others and be influenced by others, we are ultimately responsible for our own behaviors (Romans 14:12; Matthew 12:36).

Many times, people are led to sin due to pressure from friends, family, or a spouse. They would rather not ruffle any feathers in the relationship, so they indulge in a sin they would otherwise be avoiding (1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 22:24). If we are pressured into sinning by others, we need to be aware that the root cause of it is idolatry because we are valuing others' opinions and desires for us more than we are God's (Exodus 20:3; 34:14; 1 John 5:21). When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, trying to entice Him to sin, Jesus responded by placing God in His rightful place as supreme Lord. Luke 4:8 says: "And Jesus answered him, 'It is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve."'"

It nearly goes without saying that most of us do not consciously present people with opportunities to sin. We can avoid enabling someone else's sin in the same way that we personally avoid sinning: by keeping godly standards and boundaries in our own lives. We can most effectively lead others in holy living by our own example (1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 1:13–19). As Christians, maintaining a sinful lifestyle is no longer an option for us (Romans 6:1–2; 1 John 3:9). Jesus was victorious over sin on our behalf and He wants to see us walk in victory over the power of sin (John 10:10; Romans 8:37). We are to seek the things of Christ: "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1).

It is inevitable that each one of us and those we care about will sin. God is gracious to forgive us and grant us mercy (Psalm 145:8; 1 John 1:8–9). Sin becomes a greater concern when it is habitual in the life of a believer.

You can't prevent someone from making their own decisions, so how can you help someone who continues choosing to sin? Allow them to experience the consequences. The Bible is clear that sinning has repercussions. When a person sins, allow him/her to feel the consequence of those sins (Galatians 6:7–9). You can love them through the process, but do not smooth their sins over as if they are a non-issue. In a sense, this would be enabling the sin to continue because you would be helping to minimize its severity (1 Timothy 5:22). Additionally, you would be preventing that person from gaining the wisdom and freedom from sin that God desires them to have. It's difficult to watch someone you care about go through a hard time, but sometimes these challenging seasons can be used by God to transform a person's life for His glory (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 1:9; Romans 8:28–29).

We have free will and if we have surrendered our lives to Christ Jesus, He becomes our authority for every decision (2 Corinthians 10:5; Acts 5:29). We receive His grace and have the power of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to uphold godly standards of living. Titus 2:11–14 shows us how the transforming power of God's grace empowers us to live: "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."

Because God has empowered us to live a life of righteousness, we should, by our own example, encourage others to do the same.

Related Truth:

What is 'causing others to stumble'?

How might one Christian be a stumbling block to another?

What does the Bible say about edification? Why is it so important for Christians?

What is Christian fellowship and why is fellowship so important?

Why is accountability important in the Christian life?

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