Arrested for Possession of Drugs and Guns
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Ephesians 5:6-7
Working with the incarcerated, it’s common to hear one of the inmates report that he was unfairly arrested for possession of drugs that weren’t his. It’s a believable story – the one telling it had simply stopped by an acquaintances home when law enforcement suddenly showed up, finding a significant quantity of drugs and maybe a gun. But they weren’t mine! I’m just an innocent bystander! The guy who owns the home insists they aren’t his either, so the law prosecutes everyone in attendance.
The one telling the story feels he’s being unfairly treated. He was just minding his own business when he simply ran into bad luck. Maybe it is unjust, but it’s rarely as simple as that. He usually already has a record and as part of his probation, he’s not supposed to be around drugs or guns. The truth is most people rarely need to worry about being swept up by law enforcement for possession because most people don’t hang out in such places. Maybe this guy didn’t own the gun or the drugs, but he is guilty of poor judgment in associating with such people. This was a completely avoidable situation.
That seems to be Paul’s message in today’s passage. In it, he referred to the sons of disobedience, those who would lead Christ’s followers astray. He said that the wrath of God is coming for them and that we must not become partners with them. Paul knew that our lives are shaped by those with whom we associate, and he admonished us to spend time with those whose lives are going in the same direction we want ours to go.
Spending time in a drug dealer’s home isn’t really a problem for me, but still, I must protect myself, wisely choosing my friends and associates. Daily, I can surround myself with those who would encourage my self-destructive behavior, or I can surround myself with those who encourage me to live in faith and recovery.
This must be purposeful. If we simply go with the flow of life, we’ll find ourselves associating with those who encourage the worst parts of our nature. If we want to avoid the disaster of those things, then we must choose our friends wisely. Our self-inflicted pain and misery have usually stemmed from situations that were completely avoidable.