Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Romans 5:5
As someone who counsels a lot of people, and am often baffled by their response (or lack thereof) to some of the Bible-based answers I give them, I’ve prayed for a long time for God to show me, in some tangible way, how to understand this.
Here’s what I got:
Picture an ebola clinic – Patients that are ravaged with the disease are coughing uncontrollably, running fevers, and suffering from massive headaches. As a doctor in this clinic, I would not walk up to one, point to someone who has just succumbed to the disease, and tell them, “Stop coughing, right now, or this is going to happen to you.” or “If you insist on keeping that headache, you will end up like this.” or “Stop running that fever, right now, or you’ll be dead, too.”
Why? Because those who are ravaged with a disease cannot stop, or control the symptoms of that disease, no matter how hard they try.
No, as a doctor in such a clinic, I would go to the patient and say, “I have the cure for this disease. Once the cure is administered, the symptoms will subside, and eventually will leave you completely. Do you want this cure, or do you want to continue your suffering from the symptoms, until the disease ravages your whole body and leaves you dead.?”
In the same way, we need to see people who are dealing with major issues in the same way. Things like addiction to alcohol, drugs, porn, attention, etc. are all merely symptoms of a deadly disease known as sin. Oftentimes, we tend to only address the symptoms, then become frustrated by the lack of progress in dealing with them.
When the cause of the symptom is not addressed, that cause, along with the symptoms, will only worsen.
It’s easy to look at someone’s symptoms, and focus on them, without looking for a cause.
In the case of someone who is plagued by addiction, the “cause” of course, is sin, but there are many ways that “germ” is carried, just as with a physical disease. Some of these “carriers” are hopelessness, anger, disappointment, despair, bitterness, resentment, pride, arrogance, complacency, etc.
In dealing with someone in such a situation, our response should be to offer the “Cure” (Jesus Christ), thus eliminating the carrier, and ending the symptoms, not to focus on eliminating the symptoms.
So, how do we “administer” the “Cure”?
We do so by introducing the patient to Jesus Christ, and the hope, love, forgiveness, peace, mercy, grace, joy, and contentment that can only be found in Him. And then, we must follow-up, teaching them how to grow in Christ. As they do so, the symptoms will go away, because the source of the infection has been removed.
So, rather than feeling the hopelessness that comes from trying to address the symptoms (with poor results), let’s remember that we do have the Cure. We know, for a fact, that He can cure them, so let’s start dispensing Him freely!!!
Disclaimer: (Please read): There are side effects of this Cure. They may include, but are not limited to: unconditional love, relentless forgiveness, passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ, amazing grace, undeserved mercy, unspeakable joy, unfathomable hope, indescribable peace, and unimaginable contentment.
If you experience any of the side effects, please share them with those around you immediately!!!