Tag Archives: alcohol

Forgiving self

by Barry Newton

The phone rang. On the other end was a familiar voice just beyond recognition. Then as he launched into asking, “how do I forgive myself?” I suddenly recalled his name and history.

“How can I forgive myself when I have wasted so many decades?”

Before I could even gather my thoughts he blurted out his current crisis. Even although his speech was not slurred, a slight bit of probing revealed what I feared. Alcohol was involved.

I’ve heard the ache and seen in people’s eyes the pain arising from decades of destructive decisions. Can a new future exist devoid of dragging along self-recrimination for past failures?

While the issues and resolution are more complex than this brief article encompasses, two truths need to be emphasized. The first is Christ’s blood is more powerful than our sin.

As horrible and destructive as sin is, hope exists. Forgiveness is possible because Jesus’ death can overcome sin’s poison.

The same satanic mantras tend to dominate those struggling with forgiving themselves:

  • “There is no hope for me!”
  • “God doesn’t want me, I’ve done too much.”
  • “I can’t be forgiven.”
  • “I will never be able to forgive myself.”

What arrogance that arises from the pit of despair! My sin is so powerful that it can defeat the Son of God? What a prideful lie!

This delusion of grandeur also promotes further sin. For if there is no hope, then what’s the point of resisting sin today?

This introduces the second truth. When the horrid nature of one’s own sinfulness is acknowledged, evil relishes for that person to develop an exclusive fixation upon it.

At first, sin might have been swallowed because it possessed a delightful candy shell lie. But once the inner poison is released, it appears Satan promotes a singular focus upon one’s own guilt producing a profound wallowing in it. In this way, the sinner equips evil with yet another mace to further bludgeon himself or herself into ruin.

To be sure, the path to self-forgiveness contains many steps including embracing the significance that some simple truths contain for our lives.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins” (Ephesians 1:7).

“For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy” (Hebrews 10:14).

Yes, we have sinned. We all have. But God’s power is greater than our sin. If God forgives us, who are we to insist upon guilt?

God and his power to transform our lives deserves our focus. Those who have relied upon Christ, must refuse to listen to how Satan would drag up the past to condemn what God has forgiven.

While other measures may also be needed, rejecting lies to embrace the truth can lead to forgiving self.

Drifting Away

by Tim Hall
A man is rescued from one danger; but what about the greater danger?
Imagine lying in a hammock in the warm summer sun. A slight breeze draws a contented sigh from you as you close your eyes. Within moments you’re drifting off to a restful summer nap.
Now change the scene slightly. Instead of a hammock you’re lying on an inflatable raft, bobbing along in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The alcohol you imbibed makes it impossible to stay awake. Instead of sleep, you’re in a stupor. And you’re awakened only when the Coast Guard arrives — one mile from shore — to rescue you.
That last scene wasn’t just imaginary; it happened to Jerry Whipple on June 24, 2010. Authorities stated in the Associated Press report that they suspect Mr. Whipple was very drunk. Jerry should thank the boaters who spotted him, still unconscious, and alerted rescue personnel. Things could have turned out much worse.
Mr. Whipple and many others should consider advice given thousands of years ago: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1, NKJV).
Many will be mocking this seafaring fellow after reading the story. But they will not be the first to mock him.
Another passage in Proverbs sounds almost prophetic. After noting the poisonous effects of intoxicating substances, this is added:

“Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: ‘They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?'” (Proverbs 23:34,35).

Statistics vary, but all will admit that there are millions in America who are enslaved to alcohol. How many of these made a decision to become addicted? Not one; they all began drinking with the thought that they could handle their liquor. But they couldn’t.
Like Jerry Whipple, they drifted further with each drink from being in control. How much better if they had never taken that first drink!
Some will argue that the Bible doesn’t tell us not to drink wine; rather, it warns us against drunkenness. In response we would ask that they consider 1 Corinthians 6:12: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Can anyone state with absolute certainty that their drinking will not lead to addiction? Why would you want to roll those dice?
Jerry Whipple has been rescued from the perils he faced at sea. Will he allow himself to be rescued from that which put him in the imperiled condition to begin with?