that he needs to focus on his inner self, his spirituality, his worth as a child of God when he doesn’t have a job? That was the situation Pop and I found ourselves in Tuesday night as we visited with a guy who’s come to my class off and on over the past couple of years and called me seeking counseling. As Pop sat there silently (I wonder if he had his hearing aid on), I listened to a man talk about his struggles with alcohol, drugs and sexual perversion, how he wanted desperately to change, how he had a basic belief in God but that he thought God was tired of hearing him ask for help, how he was flat broke, his car was broken down and he had no job.
Life is hard. Harder still when we self-inflict wounds that cannot heal without treatment. As tears rolled down his eyes, he reiterated that he wanted to change but couldn’t. He wanted to talk to God but couldn’t. How he thought God had turned his back on him forever, never to open the door again.
Perhaps my response was too harsh but as I told him, there comes a time when you have to make a choice. I can’t make the choice for him, I can’t turn his life around. It isn’t enough to want to do it, you have to do it. The choice is rather simple – do I believe, as a child of God, that I am worthy of His love and have the courage to face life head-on, giving myself a chance at freedom? Or, do I continue to buckle under the pressure of everyday life, enslaving myself to various anesthetics in a vain attempt to find self-worth?
I can and should, as I was and will, help him in a supporting role, listening with grace, giving gentle direction, encouraging him as he walks the path of life. But it would be irresponsible of me to talk in platitudes and cliche’s, telling him that it’s okay, God loves you, be on your way. God does, in fact, love him, as surely as he loves me. And God does want him to come to him, to allow Him to comfort and protect His child. He will not, however, force that upon anyone, you must choose to accept Him. And the word that we use for that choice is repent – to change direction. Without a course change, he will fail once again. Job or no job.