Taking Advantage of Kindness
Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 Corinthians 6:1
Though I may not have realized or admitted I was doing it, in my addiction, I became practiced at manipulating others to do my will. I’m a pretty nice guy, so I used my nice guy personality as I sought out other nice guys whom I might convince to prescribe pills for me. In general, physicians want to help others, and so I took advantage of that kindness to get what I wanted.
It wasn’t just other people I tried to manipulate though. In my arrogance, I thought I could take advantage of God as well. I knew the Bible taught that I was saved by grace. In fact, the verse just prior to today’s explains how Christ died for our sins that we may be forgiven. So, If God forgives me for whatever I do, then I can just do whatever I want and ask forgiveness later. I get what I want, and I can be forgiven.
I can clearly recall such thoughts at my last relapse. As I reached for those first pills, I could feel God telling me, Do not do this. I wanted it though. So, I told God that I was going to do it and that I knew he would have to forgive me. I’ll do what I want today, and then I’ll ask forgiveness tomorrow. Because you’re God, you will forgive me, and everything will go back to normal. No consequences. I was a fool. Five months later, after those first few pills led to months of drug use and eventual calamity, I looked back at my attempted manipulation with sorrow, regret, and shame.
We may be able to take advantage of the kindness of people, but we can’t fool or manipulate God. Paul made it very clear that God loves us and will always forgive us. This promise comes with a warning though. God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance (Romans 2:4). Paul exhorted us not to accept God’s grace in vain and not to attempt to take advantage of his goodness.
If we truly want to know love and mercy, all we must do is to ask forgiveness for our sins. Honestly asking forgiveness though, involves repentance. If we say we’re sorry, but we never change anything, we’ve not actually repented and thus, we’ve not actually received anything. God always forgives when we ask. Now, we must do what it takes to abandon those things for which we required forgiveness in the first place.