In the last blog, we looked at a couple of incidents where Jesus seems to behave in such a way that current psychological thought would label Him as codependent.  Based on Wikipedia's definition, codependency is a "tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life. It also often involves putting one's needs at a lower priority than others while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others."  In two passages (Mark 3:20-21and Mark 6:31) Jesus seems to act in such a caretaking way that He and His disciples don't even have a chance to eat!  Apparently this caretaking was a pattern in His life because His family, thinking he was "out of His mind," went to restrain Him in what we would today call an intervention.

How do we reconcile this?  Isn't codependency unhealthy?  Is codependency a sin?  Was Jesus a codependent?

Scripture commands us to look not only after our own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil 2:4)  Is this verse the key to reconciling this apparent contradiction?  As long as I continue to look after my own interests, while looking after the interests of others, then I am operating within the parameters of proper mental health.  But is it ever appropriate to love others sacrificially?  If God calls me to love my brother in a way that impacts my "relationships and quality of life," am I, by definition, being codependent?  Is every act of sacrificial love suspect and at-risk for being labeled codependent?

According to the definition, caretaking and being preoccupied with the needs of others seems to be OK, but excessive caretaking and excessive preoccupation with other's needs indicates a mental health issue.  Where exactly is that line?  If Jesus and His disciples were so busy ministering to others that they missed a meal once every month, they could still be considered psychologically healthy because that isn't excessive.  But if they worked through lunch every day, then clearly they are acting out of psychological illness.  This seems to make sense -- but where is the line?  What if Jesus and his disciples work through lunch once a week?  Or 3 days every other week?  When does working through lunch become unhealthy and constitute codependent behavior?

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