I need to be candid for a moment here for those who may be dealing with the consequences of past addictions. One of the most common features among people who struggle to stay clean or sober is oddly enough a sense of entitlement.
If you have been an addict or drunk and your actions have cost you, that is where your thinking needs to end. Your actions have cost you, it wasn’t anyone else fault and you are not like a recovering cancer victim who is recovering from a disease. While dependency can certainly be created all drunks and addicts begin their journey with a personal decision that lead to the dependency and all it’s ramifications. Does God forgive you if you confess and repent? Absolutely! Does He remove all this life consequences for forgiven sin? No, and that no includes some broken relationships and lack of trust. So my forgiven friend who now has victory over their addiction, do not seek reconciliation and forgiveness and the restoration of trust from those you hurt as though they owe it to you. Earn it, prove it, fight for it and never give up doing so!
For those who may have had someone self-inflicted wounds wound them too because of their addiction or drunkenness of infidelity or anything else, remember the words of Paul to the church at Corinth who had broken fellowship with a young man who committed grievous sin and would not repent and was cast out of the church family;
But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent — not to be too severe. This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. – 2 Corinthians 2:5-8
Let me summarize the words of Paul here for those with wounds that may be considered collateral damage: reaffirm Christian, for the consequences of forgiven sin is sufficient in the lives of those who have truly confessed and repented. That means, treat them like a Christian and be concerned lest they be swallowed up with too much sorrow. It doesn’t mean necessarily restoring the relationship or rekindling the marriage or even extending unearned trust, it means offer them the comfort of forgiveness when true repentance has been shown.
One last note, there are those who seem to think their “ministry” is reminding us of who we used to be. For the most part people will be happy for you and rejoice that you are now “free indeed” or moving out of the POW mindset but there always seems to be a family member or friend who “knew us when” who have a hard time seeing us as “new creations in Christ” but can only remember the old you, the you that died in Christ. This is one of those realities much like the young girl who finds herself pregnant and unmarried, God will forgive the sexual sin, but she won’t get un-pregnant. The only thing you can do with those who were directly hurt by your actions in the past or have a hard time believing that this is not just another con to keep you out of trouble or in favor with the family is, to prove them wrong. Love them, understand that they were hurt by you and you will have to wait for forgiveness to be birthed. It may take time but they are worth it and you owe it to them even as one who is completely forgiven.
Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.