Recently I had the hard task of cleaning up the pieces of some very shattered dreams. As I literally shoveled through what had at one time been the hopes and dreams of a family, I saw this picture lying in the midst of it. I began to weep. This “Dream” picture, now shattered, said it all! All I could think of were the dreams these precious souls once had; the opportunities now lost; the havoc now reeked on all those involved and those who are in their fallout; and the seemingly insurmountable mountain that will have to be climbed to reach any type of normality. As I write this, there is no judgement; there is no “condescending” words to be spoken; no guilt and shame to be spread. For me, all there is, is sorrow for the pain; prayer for lives to be turned around; and knowledge that we have a loving, grace-filled God waiting with His arms wide open.
As a minister with Teen Challenge I see incredible miracles. I also see immeasurable pain. It is devastating to see some individuals come so far, only to allow the enemy to take them back to the pit they were once in. I will never get used to it! Each time I see it happen, I have to ask myself, “why?”; “what more could we have done to help”… Unfortunately, the choice is not up to us, not up to me. The choice lies within the individual. Though each story is different, there are common threads as to the “whys and wherefores” of people falling back:
- They get hurt or don’t deal with “issues” that still haunt them. This breeds discouragement; resentment; and doubt.
- They have had their hopes dashed. Scripture is clear that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”, and instead of going to the Master Physician they run to the old sources of comfort to ease their pain.
- They place people on pedestals and of course they fall off – people are people; you know, “human”. Our eyes are to be on Christ and Him alone!
- They get placed on pedestals! Too often I see people with big testimonies get put in leadership positions way too fast. They are young; pride often enters in and they are set up to get hurt.
- They let down their outer wall of defenses: They allow their personal support system to be weak. All of a sudden it becomes “okay” to contact those in the old life. They quit faithfully attending church and much needed support groups. Before long, they spend more time with “old acquaintances” that should have been forgotten, than with the positive Christian family God provided them.
- They allow “life” to get them so distracted that they don’t take care of themselves spiritually! The Word and Prayer are now consistently on the back burner.
- They begin to listen to the voices from Hell: negative thoughts; negative people’s words; and they allow old labels to come into the forefront of their belief systems.
- They make the one most fatal choice: the first one! The choice to compromise… after that first choice, it is way too easy to keep going. Before they know it, they are way down that road called Destruction and feeling the heat of a personal Hell no one ever wants to go to!
- They allow guilt and shame to keep them from getting the help they now need. Scripture is clear: If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness, but they are often too ashamed to ask for help from God or those He sends to them.
Notice that I used the word “they”, but I am not pointing fingers. I have over forty-two years clean and sober, but the “they” I have been talking about could easily be me. None of us are above taking a fall. Hear me loud and clear: we don’t have to! The choice is ours, but never judge those who have. On the contrary, keep praying for them; believing for them; and be a Godly resource of help for them. No one ever intends to go back to their own personal vomit. The thought is disgusting; yet, it happens. Let us ALL keep close to the one true source – Jesus; keep the proverbial “beams” out of our own eyes; keep judgmental mouths taped shut; and never, never, never give up on anyone God puts in our paths! #keepondreamingasyoukeeponbelieving