Damn the Consequences
And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Matthew 27:25
I hear this story often from those who have relapsed and honestly, it terrifies me. The story usually goes something like this: I was clean and sober, going to meetings and to church. I felt like I was doing pretty well. Then, as life returned to normal, I got a little lazy in my recovery, but still, I was sober. Then, one day, BAM! Temptation returned with a vengeance and I just said “*@#! It” (sorry for the language mom).
This scares me, because I’ve been there, sober, but perhaps not working on faith or recovery, when, BAM! Temptation hits and even though I know the consequences, I indulge. Once I get a taste, the switch flips and I don’t care about the cost anymore. I’m going to do what I want to do. Damn the consequences!
This was the attitude of the crowd who demanded Jesus’ crucifixion. After Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, questioned Jesus and found him innocent, he turned to the bloodthirsty people, who cried out, Crucify him! Pilate washed his hands of the ordeal, and the crowd blindly accepted the consequences, His blood be on us! They were so hungry for Christ’s death, that they couldn’t consider the ramifications of killing him.
When we want something destructive, we must often justify it. When we want it badly enough, we simply dismiss all reason, saying “*@#! It”. Once we get to this point, there’s nothing that will change our course. We accept that we’re destined for failure and we just go with it.
How do we defend against this attitude? Whenever I hear the story, I ask myself this again. How do I avoid that point where I just impulsively throw it all away? For me – for the addict – one slip up is disastrous. I’ve met those with 20 years of sobriety, who’ve relapsed, wrecking their lives.
The answer lies in daily prevention. Daily, I must remember that I still live in a flesh nature that seeks self-destruction. Daily, I must do what it takes to turn from that nature to follow Christ. This is the life of discipleship that Christ described, and it is the protection from myself that I require. I’m not destined to go back to the old life, but if I want to live free from it, I must continually follow the new one.