Is it a good thing to try to help a brother or a sister in Christ out of the pit of sinful addiction? Yes! Are there any potential dangers we should be aware of when we do this? Yes! Is it possible that we could be putting ourselves in danger? Yes! Could we risk being pulled down into sin with them? Yes!
The Lord Jesus led me to read Galatians 6 (Select vv. ESV).
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Vv. 1-5
So, here you are a believer in Jesus Christ with the compassion of Christ in your heart towards those who are hurting, or towards those who are trapped in sin, or towards those who are needy and in need of help. That’s a good thing, right? I mean it is good that we care, that we are concerned about people, and that we want to help them. That is how we should be!
But, we also need to be smart, and we aren’t always. If we are the kind of people with soft hearts toward the hurting, we can easily be taken advantage of, too, if we are not careful. But, worse than that, they could drag us right down into the pit with them, if we don’t have our guard up. It can be a lot like trying to rescue someone who is drowning, who will use you to push themselves up while pushing you under the water, to your death.
So, do we stop helping people just because of the dangers involved? No! We just have to be smarter, wiser, and more discerning, and not think that we are standing so strong that we are not capable of falling, lest we fall, too.
But, there is a flip side to this scenario, and that is that you may be the drowning person who is looking for help, and so someone comes along to help you, or you hear of a support group or whatever, and you are desperate for help, and so you latch on to whatever life preserver is tossed out to you, without thinking whether or not a shark is on the other end.
We have to remember here that not everyone is good at heart. Not everyone has good motives, although I am sure many do, but we should never be too quick to judge others’ motives, either. But, the reality of the situation is that there are sharks out there in the water who are looking to take advantage of weak, helpless and hurting people or compassionate people with soft hearts who just like helping others.
But, it isn’t just that there are sharks out there. It isn’t just the ones looking to take advantage of others who can be an issue for us. There may be other people just as vulnerable and hurting as us who will bring us down with them. Or, they could be the “religious” and self-righteous, like the Pharisees, who have people all summed up and put “in a box.” But, if you are “out of the box,” then they don’t know what to do with you, and they may hurt you badly and not even know what they really did.
For example, years ago I attended a “support group” for those who had been abused as children (all females). I had a good friend I took with me. She was hurting, too. She wanted to share in the group, but she was timid. She asked for my help, so I said I would help her. So, the next meeting she began to share, and she got scared, so I encouraged her that it was ok, that she didn’t have to be afraid. That is a good thing, right? WRONG, evidently.
The next week “new rules” were issued and read aloud in the group which read “If your friend has something to share…” I can’t remember the exact context, but it was obvious it was directed specifically at me, even though it was read to the whole group. If I was not across the room, and if I would not have had to walk in front of all those women to escape out the door, I would have fled, at that moment. I was so hurt! Basically, I was scolded for trying to help my friend. But, I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong.
So, I called the moderator the next day, who then just directed me to one of the pastors, who then just scolded me again and called me “autocratic,” I think the word was. I didn’t even know what the word meant. I had to look it up in a dictionary when I got home. So, I just sat in his office bawling my eyes out, but he had no compassion towards me whatsoever. I was the enemy in his eyes, and I was wrong, and that is all there was to it.
But, I was hurting!! That is why I went to a support group!! And, it wasn’t just that I was hurting from childhood abuse, either, but from many experiences of abuse and mistreatment in my adult years, too, and some of that coming from pastors and elders and deacons, too. And, I was hurting because of my own failures, i.e. from the times I ran from God instead of running to him when I was in pain. And, I needed help and healing!
So, just because the sign says “Support Group,” it may not be a “support group,” but they might grind you up and spit you out if you don’t think just like them. Just saying! And, this is not the only experience I have had like this, either. So, be wise, be discerning, and ask God if this group is of him.
Another possible scenario the Lord brought to my mind this morning is that, in reaching out for help, or in trying to find help for others, we must realize that not everyone who offers help or counsel is going to be good for us, or not every group will be good for us, for it is possible that they may lead us into sin rather than away from sin.
For example, if you go to a support group for sexual addiction, you might find a bunch of men sharing their “stories.” Ok, so you are already struggling to reject images in your mind which you wish had never been there, and you are hoping this group is going to help you be pure in heart and mind, but these stories are explicit enough, and the moderators do not control what is said, and so all these stories do is feed your mind with even more garbage which you are going to have to filter out. So, be aware, and be wise.
It could be the same with an “accountability partner.” Especially if you don’t know that person well, and you know that person has struggled or is still struggling with sexual addiction, which often means giving in periodically, you could end up pulling each other down. Or, the one could be feeding off the other’s weakness, and his stories, or desirous to share his own so that he can lead another down that path with him. Just saying, be wise!
Or, another possible scenario is a group (male or female) who are gathering together for support but all they do is console you in your sin in order to make you feel better about yourself so that you don’t feel so down on yourself. They are not helping you! It may feel good! And, you may even believe they really care about you, but don’t be fooled. True Christian compassion, which comes from Christ, rescues people out of their sin. It does not coddle them in their sin! Please know this!!
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Vv. 7-8
So, you must be on our guard. If you have sown to your own flesh, and even if you are now trying to be free, and especially if you are doing this in your own flesh, and not in the power of the Holy Spirit, you are ripe to be trapped right back into sin.
If you truly want to be free, you have to surrender to God, yield control of your life over to Jesus Christ, be in his Word, listen to what it says, and then begin putting it into practice. And, this means getting rid of everything in your life which draws you into sin, and being smart about not allowing anything new into your life which might also drag you down and back into sin, even if it seems like a good thing on the surface.
You also have to have a plan in place and not just walk by “the seat of your pants.” If you have no plan to succeed, then you plan to fail. If you are casual about this, you will be wide open to temptation to sin and to falling. And, you have to be realistic about your situation, too, and not try to fool yourself. Just because you maybe had a few good days doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. Take heed if you think you stand, lest you fall. Stupid is what stupid does. So, don’t be self-deceived.
An Original Work / November 21, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.
Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.
Living Water satisfies.
The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.
Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.
Living Water glorifies.
Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.
My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?
Living Water sanctifies.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 2:00 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for what you taught me today. I pray we would all be wise and discerning. Amen!