Saturday, October 22, 2016

I Can Handle It On My Own

A friend shared his story:
         “I was raised in a Christian home and was encouraged by my parents to attend church and to live a Christian life. Compared to most people, I would say I had a very easy childhood and adolescence. I say this because I won’t blame my sin and bad choices on my upbringing or some tragic event that happened.  My sins are a result of me being human.  My bad choices are a result of thinking that I can do it all alone, that I am the one in control, and that having problems show weakness.

         As a kid, I mostly did what was expected of me.  I went to church, attended youth group and did well in school.  I called myself a Christian when I was around Christians and I learned to say all the right things.

         When I was 11 years old, I raised my hand when my Sunday School teacher asked who wanted Jesus to come live in their heart.  I was Baptized when I was 13.  Looking back, I can say that I didn’t really do these things because I wanted to be closer to Jesus and follow him.  I did it because that is what was expected and it seemed to please those around me.  I can say for certain, that if I would have been in a family and group of friends who worshiped a great tree, I would have done that.  I did not understand what it meant to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, to want to serve him with all you have and have a heart of love for others.

         What I saw and came to believe, was that as a Christian, we were “good”.  We did not have problems.  No one seemed to speak about struggles in their life or their failures, so I guessed they did not have any.  I tried mirror that in my life.  Christians are “good” and “do good”.  If you do something bad or think bad thoughts, then you must not be Christian, or even worse, God probably doesn’t like you.

         When I went off to college, I began my 28-year path away from God. My life involved drinking and parties on a regular (more than weekly) basis.  When I had the choice I usually turned away from God because I didn’t feel “good enough”.  I had in my head that Christians do good and I did bad and enjoyed doing bad, so God didn’t want to associate with me.  I chose to go it alone and continued to think I could handle things.  There were a couple of alcohol related arrests, and so many years of wasted time, selfishness, pride and bad choices.

         I got married when I was 39.  My drinking and parties tapered off.  I enjoyed success in my career.  I felt so much pride in my accomplishments and I felt I did it on my own.  Things seemed to be good for about 5 or 6 years. 

         But slowly our marriage began to slip.  We didn’t have much in common and we went separate ways a lot.  I began to have a few drinks with the guys sometimes.  I knew things were slipping, but I thought I could handle it on my own.  As I look back, one of the strangest things to me now is that, if you asked me at the time, “Are you a Christian?”, I would shave said, “of course!”  I didn’t pray, didn’t attend church, didn’t read the bible, didn’t involve God in any part of my life, didn’t have a heart to help or love others, and didn’t follow God at all.

         When I was 45 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo a difficult surgery to remove a small benign tumor that was in a dangerous area.  At that time you would think I would have turned toward God.  Well, I did pray a short prayer or two, but I also refused to let a group of people pray for me, I still felt like God really wasn’t happy with me and probably didn’t like me for the things I had done.

         The surgery was a success!  The long term damage from the surgery, was to be minimal (completely deaf in my right ear), but the short term (ended up being a couple of years), was very difficult. My balance was so messed up that I could not stand for a week and could not walk on my own for few weeks.  The road to resuming normal activities was long and difficult.  I drank a little more.

         As you can imagine, this all added more difficulties and strain on the marriage.  I became depressed while trapped at home alone and not able to drive for a year.  I became very isolated. I did not pray or ask for help.  I could handle it on my own.  I drank some more.I was at home and I had a computer.  The computer can be a fantastic tool and it can be a terrible weapon the enemy can use against us.
         Growing up, like many teens and college guys, I would come across or buy a Playboy magazine every once in a while. This was another area where I fell short of what God really wanted for me.  This was another area where I felt I was “bad”.  If you were a Christian, you wouldn’t look at this stuff because Christian’s don’t do bad things, right?  I felt God certainly didn’t like me for viewing that.

         A magazine is one thing and then the internet is another.  Pornography on the internet is unlimited, and is easy to hide.  It works into your mind like a drug.  It provides an escape from reality.  I knew God didn't like it, so I thought He didn’t like me.  I turned my back on God and hid it from others. I could handle it on my own. 
         My pornography viewing turned into a full-time addiction.  There were times when I would be on a family outing or at a movie, but would be wondering how long it would be before we could return home and I could return to my office and my computer.  I knew it would truly hurt my wife if she knew what I was doing.  I made promises to myself that this would be the last time, or maybe I would begin to view it less often.  It only increased.  My problem became a daily habit.”

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Romans 7:19  

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Have you struggled with doing something you know you shouldn't but you can't seem to stop? How have you overcome that?


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