For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:13-14
When I ask the guy in jail or treatment about his last relapse, he usually admits it began long before he consumed the first drug. Often, he traces the story back to a relationship that he knew was unhealthy. He was lonely though and he knew someone who could fill the void. So, despite knowing that this woman drank, he’s attracted to her, and he gets his life wrapped up with hers. Soon, he’s drinking too. It’s just a few drinks at first, but then he’s back using meth or heroin, and eventually, he’s sitting back in front of me in jail or treatment.
It’s not women in general that are the problem. I’ve heard the exact same story from women, regarding unhealthy relationships with men. The problem is the attraction that many of us have for the self-destructive. We’re often led astray by something that looks and feels good.
In today’s passage, Paul warned the Corinthians of those false apostles who would lead them away from the gospel of Christ. He said that those who would deceive them will be disguised by beauty. Evil doesn’t usually look evil. No one is tempted by someone who looks like a witch or a cartoon devil. Satan appears not as a monster, but rather, as an angel of light.
We’re enticed to follow the wrong path because it’s attractive to us. Evil is tempting because it comes in a form that we desire. Relationships with others is one of our greatest vulnerabilities of which evil takes advantage. Most of us don’t want to be alone. When you couple our desire for companionship with an appetite for the self-destructive, you have a recipe for disaster. Once the heart becomes involved, you can justify all manner of evil. This makes me happy. God wants me to be happy, right?
What’s the solution for our guy sitting in jail or treatment? It’s not easy, but he’s got a few choices. He can continue to go back to those who would lead him astray. He can remain alone forever. Or, he can do the most difficult thing – choose healthy relationships. In recovery, if he truly wants to stay sober, he must abandon those who would lead him back to relapse.
This isn’t easy for anyone. This is radical change, choosing a whole new life. If however, we want things to be different, we must daily make the painful, difficult choices that are necessary to leave the old life, living in the new one.