Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I’m Glad You Fell


My dear friend, I heard yesterday of your fall. Of course I don’t rejoice in sin but I rejoice that you now have a better view of yourself. Did you think you were above it? Of course you did. We all do. We look at others, see them mired in their self-inflicted troubles and are so glad that we are not like them. Thus we set ourselves up for the big one. Galatians 6:1 reminds us to, “Keep watch on yourselves lest you too be tempted.

I remember the first time I was faced with the deceitfulness of my heart. It wasn’t the last time though. I was one of those who thought I had it all together. I had perfect vision in detecting the faults in others but my own escaped my gaze.

I was madly in love; she was beautiful and she loved me. We hung out, studied the Bible, and had wonderful long talks and did ministry together. We spent time alone, we became too familiar with each other and then with each others bodies. Soon we were sinning daily. Now I know that, but at the time I gave in to deceit. The inevitable happened; our relationship came crashing down; I was devastated.

It took way too long but I remember when I finally saw through clear eyes what I had done. I was devastated again. How could I have done what I did? I knew better! But something happened; I started viewing other people a little different. Not to tolerate or excuse their sin but to understand, to feel compassion, to promote restoration with gentleness.

You too have had a high view of yourself. And now you have sinned BIG! And now you are in line for BIG forgiveness and restoration. We don’t abuse grace but the message of the gospel is forgiveness. That’s what it’s all about. 1John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

I pity the perfect person. Living in their self-deceit they never endingly point out the sins of others but are blind to their own. Jesus spoke of them in Matthew 7:3, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye.” That person is all of us. Sometimes we need our face rubbed in the dirt to remind us of what we are.

I hope for restoration for you, my dear one. I pray that you will embrace the hard path ahead. Forgiveness is given freely from God but those rotten consequences cost a lot.

I remember a story I heard on Family Life many years ago. It was about a family and the daughter who was addicted to heroin and her path back to God. Here is the part that has always stayed with me:

John: Let me answer the question this way. I was doing a sermon on thankfulness and I said to Stephanie, "Stephanie, I'm having a difficult time giving thanks for heroin." And she gave me that "daughter look." That's what I call it. And she said, "Dad, I've given thanks for heroin. Why can't you?" And I said, "You have?" She said, "Yes. I realize now that I was abusing alcohol and heroin took me to the bottom fast and got me the help I needed. I could have hidden alcohol abuse from you, from my brother and from my mother for years. But heroin took me to the bottom fast and got me the help I needed." And she said, "I had to dance with the devil to come back to God." So in that regard, for what's happening in my daughter's life today – yes. I can thank God for heroin.
You have had your own “heroin” now. It’s all out on the table. You blew it big, but you had a bunch of little things going on where you were playing the game. You are at the bottom now. Now you can get the help you need. If you do, everything will be better and you will be able to help others. They will sense that you are for them; it will be different than before.

I will be praying for you more than ever.

Philip

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