I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Romans 7:19 NLT
Everything was going well, until . . . it didn’t.
Carlton appeared to have it all: a good job, a loving wife, great kids. Everything seemed to work in his favor, until they moved to a different city close to his brother-in-law—who was a drug addict. One day, in a moment of temptation, Carlton’s brother-in-law offered him a little cocaine, and Carlton took it. He was hooked.
After that, things went downhill quickly. Carlton couldn’t get enough of his new friend. He loved him so much that he spent his entire paycheck to get more time with him, leaving his family with no money for bills or groceries. His wife worked part-time, but her income only made a dent in the household expenses.
Even Carlton’s paycheck couldn’t cover his desire for more. So when he needed more but didn’t have the money, he robbed two stores, each in a different county. The police quickly apprehended him and incarcerated him. But, after all, he wasn’t a career criminal, just a good guy traveling a druggie trail.
Through Carlton’s up and downs, his wife and kids loved him. He eventually reformed . . . somewhat . . . but now and then, he found himself returning to his old friend. Unfortunately, Carlton’s life ended tragically one night when he ran off the road and wrecked. I performed his funeral and watched his wife and family grieve over his death. Years ago, life had fallen apart for them and Carlton, and it never came back together.
I had known Carlton for many years before his addiction. He was a good guy who allowed an addictive substance to ruin his life and the life of his family. But I’m no different. Nor was Paul. Paul was a believer and a great missionary, but he struggled to do the right thing. According to his own confession, he often failed to do the good things he intended to do.
Because of our sinful nature, we can do unimaginable things. God understands our sinful nature—but doesn’t excuse our actions. The first step toward healing entails confessing our sins and turning away from them. Then, we must forgive ourselves so that we can get on with life and God’s plan. One slip-up doesn’t make us failures or mean God can’t use us anymore. But if our sin becomes an addiction, we may need professional help.
We also need to forgive others who find themselves in untenable situations. Except for God’s grace, we could be where they are. I could be Carlton. We can pray for them and support their recovery from failure—without enabling them. Love doesn’t always mean agreement or approval.
When someone’s life falls apart, ratherthan gossip about them or turn your back on them, help them put it backtogether. After all, that someone could be you.
Prayer: Father, lead us to those we can help reassemble their lives.
Tweetable: Where do you turn when life falls apart?
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