A ‘cute’ word for “sluggard” is “lazy bones.” Someone who’s sole mission is to get out of work by whatever means. And some of the means they employ….
Being lazy can be hard work! You have to convince others that there is a legitimate reason you are still sitting instead of working. Excuses have to be rotated so they don’t become stale. How many times can you claim there is a “lion in the streets” before people quit believing you? Oh, the weight a sluggard has to carry to achieve his goal!
I’m kind of being silly, but then again, it fits. The one doing everything they can to avoid work IS working hard. It’s very unproductive work though. And there is no satisfaction in seeing a job well done. There is nothing to show for the day, except maybe the Cheeto’s dust on your fingers. In Solomon’s day it would be the date juice stains on the tunic.
I’ve actually tried being lazy for a day. My mind won’t let me rest. It thinks up a thousand reasons why I should get up and do something and then it thinks up a thousand more why I should be entitled to “a day off.”
But the “sluggard” isn’t a “day off” out of many days of working. Instead it is a ‘full time job’ of getting out of work. The ‘accomplished sluggard’ is one that has maintained his ‘position’ so long that everyone around him has stopped expecting anything different from him. The one whom everyone has given up on. The one who believes himself SO clever that he has fooled everyone into thinking he CAN’T work.
This is also the sluggard who comes to you crying when they need something. Who tugs on your ‘heart strings’ every time they have a need. Who has learned no other way to satisfy their needs and wants. So lazy, that when given something, sees it as their due and squanders it instead.
Can this kind of ‘sluggard’ be turned around? Is there hope for him? Or for the people he uses? It is NOT an easy OR overnight road. It takes a LOT of prayer on the part of those whom he has been abusing. It takes making clear boundaries and STICKING TO THEM. This last part is VITAL! If you don’t, then the proverb of the dog returning to his vomit fits. The sluggard is worse than he was before and he has ‘hope’; hope that you will give in again.
I heard of an experiment a long time ago. I don’t approve of the methods but the results are interesting. It was a test relating to “hope” or “hopelessness.” Rats were placed in water and forced to swim. Domestic rats swam for days before drowning. Wild rats swam for only minutes before drowning. A second experiment showed that when the wild rats were repeatedly saved, just before drowning, when put back into the same situation they swam as long if not longer than the domestic rats. They had “hope” of being rescued again.
We ALL need hope, but when ‘retraining the sluggard’ be certain that the “hope” you are providing is that of self-reliance, not rescue again from those they were abusing. The MOST LOVING THING we can do for the sluggard AND ourselves is to stay strong in our boundaries. Pray for God to help you maintain good boundaries without being cruel and for Him to speak to the sluggard’s heart to change his ways. Or to at least go find another target. It is NOT ‘fun’ being the target of the sluggard!
Father God, You know who I’m thinking of for both the sluggard and the one being abused. Please help me help both of them. The situation had turned but now it has turned back to the original path. I don’t know how to solve this. All I can offer is support, advice, and PRAYER. That’s the BEST thing to offer of all!
I put ALL those who are involved in this issue in Your hands. You are the only one who can heal this; the hurts, the helplessness, and the anger. SO MUCH anger Father. Please, wash it clean. Pull up the root of bitterness and plant fresh faith in its place. Does the bitterness come only after the ‘sluggard’ learns or can it precede it? I’m hoping that the second way is possible. Leave the lessons without the bitterness please Father.
Help me know when to hold my tongue and when to speak up. Show me how to support those around me and to keep them strong. Father, YOU have to ‘heal’ this because I can’t. Touch the ‘sluggard’s’ heart and show him there IS another way. A way that will return much of the respect he lost over the years.
I’m tired of this fight Father. Give me strength too.