To stake or not to stake? That’s the question Marilyn faced when she planted a tree sapling last summer. The salesman said, “Stake it for one year so it will be supported in strong winds. Then remove them so it can grow deep roots on its own.” But a neighbor told her, “Staking may cause more harm than good. The tree needs to start building strong roots right away, or it may never. Not staking is best for long-term health.”
We wonder about that question in relationships too. For instance, if someone has gotten himself into trouble, do we “stake him down” by rescuing him, or do we let the person “grow strong roots” on his own by allowing him to face the consequences of his choices? Obviously it depends on what seems best for the person’s long-term spiritual health. What does love do, and when does it do it? Proverbs 19 gives opposite thoughts: We are to have “pity” and lend our assistance (v.17), yet there are dangers in rescuing another because you might need to do it again (v.19). Providing the right help requires wisdom beyond our own.
God hasn’t left us on our own. He will give us the wisdom when we ask Him. And as we lean on Him, our own roots will grow deep in Him as well.