What If I Relapsed?
I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me? John 10:32
In treatment for my addiction, I began journaling about the experience. It was how I processed my thoughts and it aided in my recovery. I’d only been sober for a month when I got out, but I began planning a book. My wife wisely advised that perhaps I should prove myself with 4 or 5 years of recovery before presuming to help others. I remember thinking, I can’t wait that long. I’m dreadfully impatient, and at that time, five years seemed like an eternity.
Well, it’s been over five years now, and in that time, I’ve come to understand what my wife meant when she cautioned me. She had seen me struggle repeatedly, relapsing every couple of years, and frankly, she – like many others – expected it to happen again soon. She could see that it would be profoundly foolish to pretend to be any kind of authority on addiction, only to relapse a few months later. I wasn’t in any danger of getting published at the time, but if I had published and then relapsed, it would have made a mockery of my faith and recovery.
This is a danger for any of us who call ourselves Christians. If we claim to follow Christ, attempting to point others to him, then we have some responsibility to live in such a way that doesn’t drive people away from him.
In today’s passage, the Pharisees, in their anger, sought to stone Christ. He asked them for which of his good works they were going to kill him. They responded that they didn’t object to his good works, but to his claim to be the son of God. They didn’t hate him for living rightly. They hated him for his relationship to the father.
We would do well to live out Christ’s example. We may not be able to heal miraculously, and we certainly cannot claim to be God, but we can live in such a way that the only objection that anyone can have against us, is our faith. The truth is, if we claim faith and recovery, but then live in a contrary manner, we bring shame to God. We don’t live for the approval of others, but we should seek to live in such a way that the only complaint others have against us is our relationship to the father.