Sacrificing Those We Love
He took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering . . . 2 Kings 3:27
I am the keeper of memories I do not want. As an addict, I became a liar and a thief, hurting my loved ones in ways that shame me to remember. Looking back, it is hard to believe that it was me who did those things, but I can’t forget, and I can’t make it not be true. It was me. Enslaved to the drug, I surrendered my faith, integrity, and honesty as I sacrificed my loved ones on the altar of my addiction.
Today’s passage tells of Mesha, the king of Moab, who, when besieged and near defeat at the hands of those allied against him, offered his son as a living sacrifice. In his desperation and desire to save himself, he killed his own child, surrendering him to his false god.
Though the story is repulsive to us, we must realize that in the indulgence of our own defects we all commit similar acts of sacrifice to similar false gods. Though we do not literally kill those we love, we are all guilty of hurting our loved ones in the pursuit of our own faulty behaviors and appetites.
We like to think that we only injure ourselves when we surrender to food, drugs, pride, anger, porn, greed and selfishness, but our destructive thoughts and actions never occur in a vacuum. Our toxic behavior always sends out ripples, like a stone in a pond, affecting those around us.
I would love to be able to say that my hurtful behavior stopped when I found sobriety, but the defective appetites of my flesh nature run much deeper than just one behavior. I am still selfish and prideful, and I still damage those around me when I do whatever I want.
Thankfully, the opposite is true as well though. When I deny myself to pursue God, I sacrifice my toxic appetites instead. Then, God grows His life, love, joy and peace, creating memories of a life that I want to keep.