Anyone Can Relapse
And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Acts 12:22
I recently read that a well-known Christian speaker – who passed away not long ago – is now being accused of some pretty terrible sexual indiscretions. This was someone I very much looked up to as a voice of wisdom and maturity. He spoke all over the world, defending the faith and leading thousands to Christ. Apparently though, being intelligent and successful doesn’t insulate one from self-destructive appetites.
This man, in fact, was likely a victim of his own success. Obviously, I don’t know his thoughts, but often, tremendous achievement leads to a sense of invulnerability. I can do no wrong. I’m God’s man. I can do whatever I want. This is no big deal. I do so much for God. Surely, I can just have this one little thing. No one will know.
That this man struggled with his own destructive nature shouldn’t surprise me. I know we’re all flawed. We all struggle, and we all make mistakes. I should never use that reality though, as an excuse for horrible behavior. My mistake is in elevating this man to the level of hero or god in my mind. No one is infallible and no one is too good not to sin. When a man begins to think of himself as incapable of sin, pride has already consumed him and the disaster isn’t far off.
This is what happened in today’s passage. In the story, the crowd engaged in hero worship, elevating Herod to the status of a god. Herod failed to correct the mistake and God immediately struck him dead for it.
I may not think of myself as a god, but it is tempting to think that I’m beyond relapse. I’ve recovered so well that there’s no way I can fail. When I begin to think like this, I’ve surrendered to my pride and I begin to allow little destructive indulgences into my life. When I think I’m too good to fall, I’ve already begun my descent.
The lesson for us, is that anyone can relapse into the old life. None of us is beyond failure. So, we must embrace continual honesty, asking ourselves, What sin am I hiding? What failure do I tolerate in my life? Little indiscretions have a way of becoming big indiscretions. None of us is perfect, which is why Christ commanded us to continually abandon our path for his.