I have an unsaved friend who my heart truly breaks for. It isn’t the spiritual need for Christ that burdens me so much (though that is great) but his physical needs. He struggles with an addiction to strong rum which means he’s drunk every day.
The spiritual scars call for the Gospel…..
But his physical scars call for a friend
He bears on his face the marks of someone who struggles with alcoholism since he has a large black bruise underneath his right eye, and another one on his forehead. Both results of his falling down drunk either in the road or at home. I wish this was the only time he bruised himself that way, but it isn’t.
Situations such as this cause me to ask a serious question. What does this person need first, a friend or the Gospel? This in no way of course means to say the person doesn’t need the Gospel! The only way their life can be truly changed is if their heart is transformed.
At the same time….often they need a friend first
Again this doesn’t question the power of the Gospel. But an individual’s heart must be receptive, and their mind must be able to grasp God’s truth. In my friends drunken state it’s hard for him to do either.
So, he needs a friend who will KEEP HIM FROM DRINKING!
About 10:00 Saturday morning I was visiting with a friend at a local shop when he stumbled up completely drunk. The first thing he did was reach for a bottle of someone elses rum to drink it, even though everyone told him not to. He grabbed the bottle so one man held his left arm but my friend still grasped the bottle in his right. Thankfully he wasn’t being violent, just didn’t want to stop drinking. I reached out and took the bottle out of his right arm (not drinking any of course) and handed it to the shop owner to make sure he didn’t drink any more.
In a way that symbolically illustrates the challenge many sinners have. They are so addicted to wickedness they simply cannot stop themselves. A friend is needed who will help them give up that sinful habit.
Yes their heart must be transformed by the Gospel
But sometimes someone has to take the bottle out of their hand first.