Modern psychologists have coined the term codependent to mean someone who allows their life to be controlled by another person, much like the moon controls the tides on the earth’s oceans. Almost always this relationship ends up being a lose-lose relationship: both the person being controlled and the person doing the controlling are headed the wrong way.

Codependent is not a biblical term.

But there is a concept in Scripture that is the anti-codependent. I would call it interdependent. Here’s a couple of verses to back it up…

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. (Proverbs 27:6)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. (Galatians 5:13)

God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. (1 Peter 4:10)

This isn’t excusing bad behavior, or winking at poor choices, or rescuing someone from the consequences of sin. Excusing, winking, and rescuing are symptoms of codependency.

Interdependency is saying, “I need you to be stronger—to be healthy—because I may need to lean on you someday.”

Christians try to get stronger and develop their own spiritual gifts so that they can help a friend-in-need get stronger and develop his/her spiritual gifts.

The Body of Christ needs you to be interdependent, which completely trumps codependent.

One Response to “Codependent?”

  1. codependentme Says:

    Hi Craig:

    Your post has some interesting references. I like the scriptures that you found on being interdependent.

    My personal experience is a little different from your definition of codependence. I don’t feel like I was being controlled. It feels more like I’ve been in a boat all my life. Various people have sat opposite me, bailing water into the boat while I am working equally fast to bail water out. I know that I am doing right by bailing out and just waiting from my boatmate to realize the harm they are doing. It was more like an enduring, underlying hope that simmers under the pain.

    You can see my posts at Of particular relevance is ‘How did I become codependent?’ Best wishes.


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