I Can’t Fix This

I Can’t Fix This

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24

Some people suffer from excessive pessimism, always worrying that the sky is falling. I, on the other hand, probably suffer from excessive optimism, believing that I can fix any situation. So, when I lost my job in a way that threatened to end my career, and when I had to subject myself to the judgment of the state medical board, it was a painful shock that I couldn’t fix the consequences of my addiction. I’d used my license to divert opioids and that transgression wasn’t going to be swept quietly under the rug. I couldn’t charm my way out of it. For fifteen years, I’d been able to avoid any serious consequences, which only served to embolden my addictive behavior. I can do whatever I want and get away with it. Losing my job though, was a painful reminder that I can break some things in a way that cannot be undone.

This reality is illustrated in today’s passage. In the story, God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden, placing angels with flaming swords at its entrance. Adam and Eve knew that eating the forbidden fruit was wrong, but I doubt that they fully understood the severity of the consequences for that action. If they thought of consequences at all, I’d bet they thought that it wasn’t that big of deal. It’s just an apple. God won’t get all bent out of shape over this. God however, had promised death to anyone who ate of the fruit. He’d warned them that the consequences would be severe and that they’d be permanent. Death is final.

As Christians, a lot of us find ourselves in this mindset – that anything can be fixed. We live under Christ’s forgiveness and grace after all. There’s nothing we can do that God won’t forgive. So, we mistakenly believe that the strings between action and consequence have been cut. The one struggling with an addiction doesn’t think he could overdose and die. The one struggling with lust never really believes that his marriage will end over pornography. Our self-destructive behaviors though, have very real consequences, some of which cannot be undone.

Looking back, it was absurd of me to ignore the likelihood of very painful and permanent consequences of my drug use. In recovery now, I must learn to consider the future. Does this action help or hurt my physical, emotional, and spiritual health? Consequences are real. Daily, I must consider the cost of my actions.

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