Those Who Can’t Be Helped

Those Who Can’t Be Helped

This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.” Proverbs 30:20

In every struggle I’ve had with my destructive appetites, there has always been a point where I knew I didn’t need help from God or man. I’ve got this under control. I can quit anytime I want. I’m not addicted. I’m not even doing anything wrong.

This is the most common frustration I hear from families of the addicted. How can I make him get help when he doesn’t want it? The sad answer, is that the one in this state is almost impossible to help. In denial, he cannot admit there is a problem and thus, he cannot begin to seek a solution.

This is the condition described in today’s passage, in which the one living in sin insists that she is faultless. I have done no wrong. For this person, the desire to engage in toxic behavior overrides all reason. This is addiction, to pursue one’s appetite despite the destruction that is obvious to everyone else, while insisting that nothing is wrong. I’m fine! I don’t need your help!

As a physician, I’ve met many addicts and have often said that I’d rather work with ten who know they need help than to work with one who refuses it. I’ll do what I can to help the one who wants it, but I spend very little time trying to convince anyone. Until the addict accepts his problem, he simply won’t be able to work on it.

What then, can we do to help those who remain blind? We must live rightly ourselves, refusing to enable. We must bear witness to what God has done for us, and we must pray, asking that he reveals the addict’s need. God can do what we cannot. This is a tough prayer though, as God often uses painful consequences to awaken the addict from his denial.

We cannot save others and we cannot recover for them. The sad truth is, not everyone gets help and not every story has a happy ending. We must simply live rightly ourselves and we must pray, leaving the results up to God.

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