When the Rain Begins
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. Genesis 7:11-12
It’s always easy to see the mistakes of others. It’s perhaps even more obvious in working with those who’re addicted to chemicals. Enslaved to drugs, their addiction makes their decisions for them as they repeat the same disastrous mistakes. This spiral into self-destruction can be tough to watch. I’ve often wished I could just take over the addict’s decision making for a month, get him sober, and show him what life can be like without drugs. I’m hardly qualified though. I’ve been there. I’ve been the one whom others look upon and shake their heads. Why can’t he stop?
This is the fate of those who must stand by, watching others self-destruct with drugs or alcohol. This is probably the most frequent question I get. How can I get him to stop? The short answer is – You can’t. I think this is the first step anyone must accept in trying to help anyone with anything. You cannot have faith for anyone. You cannot recover for anyone. You cannot make anyone stop drinking. This doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do. It just means that, to protect yourself, you must first understand that you’re not responsible because you don’t have the power to do it for anyone else. You can pray. You can refuse to enable. You can point people in the right direction. You can help get them to treatment. In the end though, you can’t have faith or recover for anyone. You’re responsible for your own thoughts, words, and actions. That’s all.
I’ve got to wonder what it was like to be on Noah’s ark when it started to rain. Had Noah’s family become enemies to those around them or were these their friends that were going to drown in the approaching flood? Noah and his family knew for years what was coming. Did they try to help those around them? Did they try in vain to convince them to repent? As the rain began to fall, did they weep for the destruction that was coming upon those who’d rejected God?
The question we must ask ourselves is – Am I living right myself? Am I doing what I can to follow God and to point others in his direction? It’s not right to callously turn our backs on those who’re struggling. We must do what we can to help. We also must realize though, that we cannot have faith or recover for anyone else. We’re responsible only for our own thoughts, words, and actions. That’s all.