Protecting others is a good thing, right? How could protecting others ever be a bad thing?
Protecting others can go sideways when we forget who The Protector is. There is only One who is able to protect 24/7. God is The Protector, not us. We are only a conduit of His protection. We’re able to protect in a healthy way only when we yoke up with The Protector. When God does the heavy lifting.
Protecting others can go sideways when we are motivated by fear, rather than love. Fear can take us down paths God never asked us to take. Look at the problem itself and fear as two separate issues. Get rid of the fear, and we’ll be able address the issue with clarity. If we allow fear to hijack our protective nature, it can harm those we want to help.
When our children were young, I saw an ungodly mindset in an individual who influenced our children. I made an unconscious decision that day… I would protect our children from that mindset. I erected an invisible wall of protection. A “no trespassing” sign. That wall was made out of fear. In the spiritual realm, I wrapped a protective arm around my children and said, “You shall not pass!” Children do need adults to advocate for them, but the motive for my actions was fear. Fear does not protect. Our “no trespassing” signs can be felt by others. The distrust they represent causes damage to our relationships.
When we partner with God, asking Him to protect, He is able to put up walls of protection. His walls allow what is good to pass through and keeps anything destructive out. Fear has no place in God’s walls of protection. God may lead us to take action in order to protect those we love. Other times He may only lead us to pray. The key is to bring God into the situation. Ask for guidance. Trust Him to protect.
Protecting others can become a negative when we seek to protect because we don’t believe God will. While our theology may say, “God is The Protector,” our perception may be that God doesn’t always protect, so we’d better.
Protecting others will go sideways if we think we have to dishonor or dominate others in order to protect them. A good question to ask ourselves is, “Am I acting as someone else’s protector because I’m assuming they are incompetent? Not capable? Unreliable? I recently found myself doing this. Without asking permission, I did someone else’s work for them. I didn’t think they were able to do it. I stepped back and examined my motives. I thought it should be done a certain way. I took control in an attempt to protect. In my pride, I overstepped. I dishonored. I became friendly fire. Good intentions mixed with dishonor. It would have been more honoring to simply offer help. Ask permission. It was, after all, their life. Thankfully my apology was accepted. Permission was given, and I moved ahead. This time with honor.
Protection can also go sideways when we don’t ask for God’s perspective of others. Sometimes we determine that those we love need protection from certain individuals based on how they acted in the past. But people change. We need God’s perspective on others for TODAY.
How do we protect others in the way that God intended?
We protect others well when we have an accurate perception of God. Is it our perception that He will come through as The Protector of those we love? If not, let’s compare our perception of God against what the Bible has to say about Him. Psalm 91:14-15 says,
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him…”
If we recognize that our perception about God as The Protector doesn’t line up with the Bible, we have a choice to make. Will we renounce the lie our heart believes about God? Will we CHOOSE to believe the Bible, or our perceptions? If we choose to believe the Bible, repentance is the way we are restored. Consider a prayer of repentance, i.e., “Lord, I realize that I have believed lies about you. I no longer want to do that. I choose to believe that you are the Protector. Please forgive me. Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief.”
Another way that we can protect others well is to pray. Praying for God to protect others protects us from fear. It also reminds us Who the Protector is. Sometimes action is also called for. We need God’s guidance and timing to do this well.
Acknowledging that we cannot protect others 24/7 is key to protecting others well. This sounds backwards, but seeing our own limitations compels us to cast all our cares on God.
When our children were small, I was plagued with fear of something violent happening to them. As long as I believed the lie that I could protect them in my own strength, anxiety ran rampant in my mind. When our children became school age and I was no longer able to be with them all the time, I came face to face with the reality that I couldn’t protect them 100%, 24/7. When I saw my need for God (who is all-seeing and all-powerful) to protect our children I was able to “cast my cares upon Him.” Then peace came, and God proved Himself faithful.
Another key to protecting others well is to ask ourselves some questions:
- “Is honor present for the other person?”
- “Am I “watering my neighbor’s grass?”
- “Am I acting in pride, thinking things have to be done my way?”
- “Am I being motivated by fear, or by love?”
- Has God given me any marching orders, or is He only asking me to pray?”
- “How does God want me to partner with Him in protecting?”
- “Do the people I care about need protection from _____(name)?
- “Am I attempting to protect by inspiring and leading, or by pushing, pressuring and forcing?”
- “Have I offered to help, or am I assuming others want it?”
- “Have I erected walls of fear around those I love in order to protect them? If so, how can I tear those walls down and put my trust in God?”
- What exactly am I afraid will happen if I do not protect? Can I ask God to keep that from happening?
May the Lord protect that which concerns you,