About three weeks ago I prayed with a good friend in ministry about addiction. He came to me for a listening ear and prayer which I was happy to give.
The addiction issues were not his, rather his devastation over a friend of his who got into horrible, destructive and finally criminal stuff. Neither spouse, friends, local church, nobody suspected anything but the cops came and took him away along with evidence that is likely impossible to refute.
My friend was understandably shaken.
His buddy’s personal life, job, marriage and probably church relationship is shot through and through and since then it came about that he’ll be behind bars for quite some time.
Addiction, money-making and living a lie as well as repeated choices to avoid honest, open accountability regarding his drug of choice brought him to complete ruin.
What may prove to be part of his process of redemption is the fact he can no longer live a life of pretense. There were solid people all around him but for fear, pride or mental issues and perhaps more, he just never opened up about his sin. Hopefully, he can finally talk with a chaplain or two on a regular basis and begin to find authentic freedom in Christ though behind bars.
I’ve met some brilliant, amazing and genuine chaplains in Chicago, around Illinois and in other U.S. states over the years. I’ve also met chaplains who, though I’m surely not God and of course cannot be certain, may not themselves be Christ followers. The same goes for guards and other officials in our justice system. Nothing new about any of this.
BUT… my friend’s friend may well finally land somewhere and link (IF he chooses to and is serious about his own healing and need of change) with one or more godly folks who will walk alongside him through the mess he’s made of his life.
Then again, I have seen it go both ways.
What I do know is that without such honesty and genuine relationships, without regularly, actively dealing with one’s own recovery it ain’t gonna happen. Freedom from addiction doesn’t blow in with the next breeze. That’s what sails are for… and someone has to run them up the mast even WHEN the wind blows.
I didn’t relate the many stories of my own experience nor that of plenty of Christian folks who have played the game and eventually paid the price… but I did tell my buddy some of the other things I’ve mentioned here.
I also told him a true story of full-on redemption I was able to witness in another city first-hand years ago where a bro. was on the edge of wrecking his marriage, local ministry and a lot of other fallout that did not happen. It came to a great and screeching halt because when he was confronted by loving people close to him, he confessed, repented, got truly accountable and has walked that way since.
The fruit of his life, family and ministry is sweet, AMAZING and indeed, eternal. YES! I am so thankful to be able to share such hopeful stories as there are far too many that went the other direction.
Well… as the old carnival barker saying goes, “Ya pays yer quarter and ya takes yer ride!”
You, I and all reading this need to “take heed how we stand lest we fall”.
God reminds us how gracious He is to deliver from addictions.
I also thank God for recovery churches who focus on such matters regularly as they also can and often are a major bridge to healing and freedom in Christ.
My nation and most others are in ever-greater need of more loving, godly folks who both speak and live the truth in love alongside broken people. I’d like to think such need will decrease but by what I see in the culture/s that isn’t going to happen at present, if ever.
I learned years ago I cannot fully “fix” anyone -not even myself. At the same time there is a God who can and a good many people whom He uses to help us in the process. But for that grace I’d have been dead due to addiction issues many years ago.
You may have a family member or other loved one who seems too far gone to be changed by the power of Jesus and His gospel. It ain’t so. Not until their last breath… and you won’t know until heaven that they did not cry out for forgiveness and mercy… God regularly speaks to people in all sorts of places we consider too far away from Him to have any life-changing effect. I’m here to say I’ve been there and follow Jesus with a very different life than I lived prior to walking with Him.
One of the most intense moments I’ve ever had with the Lord was as I was about to climb on a stage after doing dope all day, deeply convicted about my life and addiction. Everyone around me was loaded and getting more stoned, drunk or both. I prayed in repentance, broke down crying at my sin and in a split-second all the drugs and booze I’d been taking in all day disappeared as if I’d never touched them at all. Fact.
That day was the beginning of a very different, real walk with the Risen Jesus.
My prayer is simply this:
God have mercy on us!
God have mercy through us!
God grant you hope!
Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn