“You’ll never move on with the Lord, if you continue drinking the way you do”...It was as though I was talking to a mirror. I'd stumbled onto the bench only moments before, in an attempt to counsel this man with some 'godly direction'. I can see myself slurring my speech and hiccuping my way through sentences now, bleary-eyed as I pathetically try to be a good witness to the man who had previously informed me that he was a recovered alcoholic. Both of us, being drunk at the time, displayed appalling hypocrisy. Both of us were desperate, and both of us needed God to change us, but neither of us were ready, or willing to admit it. At least we both agreed on something! Looking back, the hypocrisy with which I spoke is cringe worthy, but God - in His abundant grace and abounding mercy brought His faithful conviction, however painful it was to face, and I knew I had a choice. I was at a crossroads – forgive the cliché – at which I could either continue in blissful ignorance, down that road we all know and love. You know the one, apparently it's 'paved with good intentions'...I could freely continue, by choice, in this hypocritical indulgence, further tainting my witness of life in Christ, and what it is to be a believer. I could actively chose to cause this man to stumble further...Or...thank God for providing ways out...I could listen to my words and do something about it. I could practice what I preached – again, forgive the cliché. The natural disobedience in me struggled with this for a while. Stubbornness raised it's ugly head, and writhed around in me, kicking and screaming like the absolute epitome of hormonal teenage rebellion. I ignored it. Put it on a shelf, and tried to push my luck a little further, for a while longer. Continuing in a cycle, all too similar to the Israelites', of heartfelt apologies, with little permanence when it came to following through. I would seek God's forgiveness on Sunday, 'come to my senses' by Monday. Then the following days of study were interrupted by a systematic binge, with days between to allow myself room to nurse any repercussions of the night before. How foolish I was, living in denial, pushing my luck wherever I fancied. A drink to take. A heart to break. But I had 'boundaries'...surely that meant something?...Face down on the bathroom floor...the pattern of the carpet causing what felt like my brain drowsily rotating in my head...my stomach turned. I'd have given up on me right there and then...watching this pathetic, lustful, drunken lump of worldly mess, repeatedly vomiting empty promises from his lips...but God persisted. Because God, unlike man, is not fickle. He finishes what He starts, He chases that which is His, and I knew that this was only the beginning of a new walk. Although I dug my heels in, I do mark that blurry evening on the bench as a crucial point of eye-opening. Revelation, if you will. A night when God started to show me who I was, and what I was worth. One of the many good things about God is that He shows us our sin, so that it may be dealt with. Not in a way that condemns us into a pit of self-pity and hopelessness, but in a way that says “you, my son, are better than that, because I have made you so...”
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