I was talking to a friend the other day whose adult child is bound by addiction…
Many people, when they think about love, think that love is one-sided. They think that love gives, comforts, soothes, protects, fixes, overlooks.… but many don’t realize that, although those things are good and true, love also has another side: “tough love.”
Tough love is a cliché, yes, but it’s so much more than a cliché – it’s truth, too. Did you know Hebrews 12:6 says that God disciplines those he loves and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son? And, further, Proverbs 13:24 says, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
Hates their children? Did you catch that?
And those are just two scriptures, out of MANY, that emphasize the seriousness of discipline in the lives of our children… not to mention the bigger picture of the Old Testament, all the way into the New Testament.
Love disciplines. Love does what is hard.
Now, as a side note, when the Bible talks about discipline, it does NOT mean abuse. Abuse is not discipline. Abuse is abuse.
Back to the topic. As parents, whenever a child is in pain, the last thing you want to do is anything that will make you think that you’re adding to that pain — especially if you’ve been the one to carry the guilt of your child’s choices. But, what can be hard to realize is that this same act of “love” that you think is keeping your child safe, and from death, is the very thing that is helping your child remain sick, and leads to their death.
This idea can freak a lot of people out, I know; but, think about it… if you’re blessing your child with a roof, money, a car, a safe place, food, or are playing hero all the time, not allowing him or her to experience the painful reality of his/her choices, you’re essentially playing the role of God in their life, giving them a false assurance that, without change, they will be okay; and that is a lie! This enables them to continue in their sin by giving them no need to change and keeps them from ever being in a position to look up. You are, literally, co-signing with the enemy to their demise.
In all situations, thank goodness we can always relate things back to God and our Lord. Think of you, in your sin. If God, your Heavenly Father, never allowed you to experience the repercussions of your bad choices, you would never realize your need for help, repentance, and salvation; and, eventually, it would lead to your death, just as the Bible says over and over. In fact, if God continued to bless and protect you, in your sin, instead of letting you see where your bad decisions led you, you’d never know that anything was even wrong, or have any reason to look up, in the first place, right? It would be horrible and hopeless. We’d literally have a “heavenly” father that helped us kill ourselves, and we’d have no way out. That’s no father at all!
It’s just the same with you and your child(ren). No good parent would give blessings and gifts in exchange for evil behavior. If a good parent did, in fact, you’d brush up against a catch 22… there’s only so many generations of this parenting where that could even be possible until, one day, utter darkness: the absence of good.
Hmmm this sounds familiar… I think the Bible says something about this, right? Or, rather, a lot about this. If you take a look around, we’re living a catch 22 (except, we, who believe, know that God has provided a way out: Jesus!). This kind of parenting: good things for evil acts, is the kind of parenting that’s been growing more and more dominant in these last days, which is why we’ve seen such rapid progression in evil. Don’t think so? Think about our country, even. Can you tell me what taking God out of it has increasingly done over the years? It’s evil on a whole new scale!
Okay, staying focused…
Parenting, even in the hardest of situations, should be modeled after the way that God, the Father, parents us. God, in everything, gives us the perfect example of how to love our children, even in their sin.
The world, today, largely misunderstands the need for discipline, especially in the arena of addiction. Many are paralyzed by the fear that their child may die, thinking that they’d be to blame, and many that do know what is best, don’t do what is best because of the social pressures of “looking bad” for doing it.
Listen, friends. God gives us a pretty serious consequence for choosing not to see our own sin and wanting to continue in evil: eternal Hell. That’s no joke. And why do you think it’s so extreme? Because, just like any parent who loves their child, He wants us to realize that we are sick, plagued with bad decisions, and that we need to look up; and, just like your children need special consequences for their sin, so do we; and, unfortunately for our thick-headed pride, a quick 5-minute timeout in the world we live in isn’t enough to turn us around.
Doing the right thing in these scenarios, will be the hardest thing; but, you are not alone. If you, or someone you know, know someone who is struggling with addiction, I strongly suggest seeking out Biblical Christian Counseling, or someone that is trusted in Pastoral leadership, who can guide you in the right direction, with Godly wisdom, based on your circumstances. God gives us a blueprint for handling ALL things and, addiction is no exception.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”