A man whom I wish to not reveal the name of has been heavy on my mind throughout the last several months. This man is an acquaintance, and he is someone whom I have known for many years. I will use the name ‘Bill’ throughout the post for the name of my acquaintance.
Bill and I began speaking to each other off and on nearly ten years ago. Within that decade, I have learned many things about Bill’s personal life. It has been very hard to watch this man remain in a constant place of self-pity and self-harm, but I have spoken to him with an open mind throughout all of these years. He has been a lesson to me in many ways. My usual straightforward approach, or in other words, skipping the sweetened talk and getting to the root of the problem when one is presented, has been a huge challenge when it comes to Bill. I can clearly see the majority of the problems that he has conveyed to me and know with 99.99% certainty what would remedy these things, but I cannot choose for him.
I have learned that Bill is a chronic alcoholic. That is just the beginning. As I have delved deeper into Bill’s conveyance, I have recognized many patterns that are simply not healthy. I am not a therapist or licensed in psych services, but knowing things from my own studies and experiences I can clearly see many things within Bill that, if addressed and worked through, would relieve him of so many different struggles. He needs to see a professional. He needs another’s professional guidance to coach him through the many maladies he is haunted by. He needs to pursue a strategic plan that will remove his dependency from the alcohol. He needs to figure out why he has all of these underlying issues within himself.
Obviously, my straight and to the point approach is not the way one should go about speaking to someone with such issues.
I have been listening to Bill throughout all of these years, and just listen to the things that he says. He speaks of many non-biblical concepts found within his distorted view of Christianity. He speaks of his lottery / gambling addiction. He is always talking about the bar that he visits every night. An abusive father, when he was growing up. His inferior position within the line-up of his siblings. The “shack” that he lives in, which is falling apart because of his negligence and periodic rage which causes him to destroy things within it. The same rage which causes him to destroy other property, such as his vehicle and cell phone. He has destroyed well over ten cell phones that I know of. Credit card debt. Beating himself up over his view of himself. His physical and mental health just deteriorates in front of me, but I am in no position to just scoop him up and take him to get help.
It really hurts to see others suffer, not only within themselves, but also within their personal lives. Bill is a man whom I continue to pray for. He is someone I can only be kind to. I have tried many times throughout the years to kindly suggest things that would help or change his situations. In the end, Bill only continues to reach the same dead ends. He is simply complacent within the life. He is not willing to look outside of the box in which he lives, nor does he see himself as worthy of those uncharted territories.
I’m forever grateful for the run-in I’ve had with the Lord. It was through Him that I was able to achieve. With this, I have realized just how important it is to see that my achievements are not my own. Yes, I chose to change many of the same things that Bill is bouncing around within. All of those things that hold him down: substance dependency, a distorted view of God, the untreated psychological maladies, the self-pity, the ‘no way out’ belief, the ‘living in the past’ and the lack of taking the first steps down a new road. But, with my choice to acknowledge, I did not become complacent within my own achievements. I did not see my own victory throughout all of these obstacles. I recognized the fruits of His Spirit working within my brokenness, and I was only allowed victory over these symptoms of sin because of His Spirit. This I now know, even though I did not clearly recognize it throughout many of the processes.
A clarity, one which is free of all of those needless stumbling blocks, is the key to conquest. The foundation to a lasting success is a proper understanding of sin. Yes, sin. Without a foundational understanding of sin and its properties, life is only a merry-go-round, bandaged with little patchworks of temporary remedies. Every obstacle is the result of the fallen world in which we live. In a perfect world, like the one God had intended, we would not have these ten-trillion impediments to contend with. Perhaps a new beginning, one of admission of his personal sin, could begin a work within Bill that would begin to clear up all that ails him.
Acknowledging sin is something I cannot choose for Bill. It is also something that the people of the world do not take lightly. Those who do not know of the Lord do not see sin as what it is. They only see judgment, and hypocrisy. They often times only see a person who thinks they are better than them when one begins to tell the other what they should be doing. We cannot just go around and tell people, directly and with a finger pointed rigidly in their face, that sin is their problem. It is something the Lord must show them. All that we can do is be an example of Christ, and choose to bear His Fruits. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That’s our job. It is up to the Lord and the individual to work out his or her personal way through the decayed world of sin, and all that is flawed within it.
I pray for Bill. I pray for him this morning, as well as for all of those who are caught up within their boxes of torment. Those who suffer from substance abuse, past demons, scars of abuse, or mental and physical maladies. Any symptom of sin that reaches into a human existence and reveals the affliction. I pray for myself as well, to not ever believe that my own accomplishments come from my own prideful self. I pray all of these things, in Jesus’ name.