The Painful Truth
Go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, “Thus says the Lord God,” whether they hear or refuse to hear. Ezekiel 3:11
Drug addiction is a fantastic – but painful – example of the destructive appetites of our flawed nature. It’s exaggerated, toxic behavior patterns are easily recognizable to everyone . . . except the addict himself. In his diseased thinking, the addict convinces himself that everyone else is wrong. I don’t need help. I can do this on my own. I’ll just cut back a little. I can have a drink now and then. Sure, I lost my job, but I don’t need treatment.
I know these thoughts, because I’ve been there. Unable to stop, but unwilling to get help, my addicted brain came up with all manner of nonsense in an attempt to continue using. This is the insanity that anyone, addicted to anything, finds himself (or herself) in, whether the addiction is to a drug, pornography, work, money, toys, affirmation, shopping, social media, internet, or video gaming.
Into this gibberish, we are called to speak the truth. When asked what a family member can do to make a loved one get help, I usually say, You can’t. You cannot force someone to see the truth. You still however, have a responsibility to speak the truth.
This is God’s command to Ezekiel in today’s passage. Addicted to their own way, God’s people refused to follow him. Whether anyone listened or not though, Ezekiel was tasked with speaking God’s truth. His burden was not to worry about results. His job was simply to obey.
This, I think, is where many of us find ourselves when those around us seem bent on self-destruction. We may be tempted to just avoid the conflict but for our own sake, we must speak the truth, even when it’s painful and even when we know it will fall on deaf ears. You don’t have to live like this. Things can get better. You need help. Often the truth hurts and often, no one is listening. We are not responsible for comfort or results though. We are just responsible to act rightly and speak the truth ourselves.