Rosie and Sarah both chewed as quietly as they could. They felt like they were the only ones in the diner.
“When I took a deeper look at many of the pagan idol worshiping cultures I noticed that intoxicants were often a part of their worship services. Even the famous Oracle of Delphi used hallucinogens to bring out the oracles. Now when I see idol worship in the Scriptures I notice that people seem to chase after their idols continually despite the fact that they have seen and experienced the very presence of God. Those that love the idols are actually often portrayed as violent and forceful in their defense of their idol of choice. I see the same thing in the culture of drug use. They work to legalize and justify its use continually.”
Sarah swallowed her food and nodding said, “I saw on TV the other day one of those talk show commercials. They were highlighting an upcoming episode where a twin did not want her sister in her wedding. The reason was that her sister was always high. The sister trapped in addiction responded that if she was not high that she was too sick to be a part of the wedding. She had to be high at the wedding.”
“I see that often. Justification. The way I see it, nobody loves their heart disease but people love their addictions and that is the big difference.”
The three enjoyed the time together talking over other things beyond addiction. The ladies laughed easily and comfortably. Mike paid for their meals and the three made their way over to the Freedom Club.
As the group gathered for the evening there were many conversations. Rosie sat at a table and seemed very animated. She was debating with a woman who was certain that she needed to get her brother into a high dollar treatment program. Rosie pointed out that it was absurd when there were great, free or low cost programs that were just as effective. Mike overhearing it pointed out that what works for one does not work for everyone. Fredrick responded so far to the local program but others needed something much more intense. Noticing that the woman was wearing glasses, Mike smiled.
“I have been having trouble seeing. Can I use your glasses?” The woman looked confused but handed them over. Gingerly, Mike put on the glasses. They were defiantly not his style, he actually looked a bit ridiculous. “These things don’t work. Why are you wearing broken glasses?” The woman looked even more confused. Mike handed the glasses back. The woman turned the glasses over in her hand and put them back onto her face. “They work for me.”
Mike looked at Rosie. “Those glasses work for her because they were designed for her. They are made to a specific prescription. My guess is that there are others out there that could function well with her prescription. Others may need to see a doctor for more serious treatments. Some will be able to made well with medications, surgery and others will need to wear glasses for the rest of their lives. Everyone is different. Addiction is similar in that respect.” Mike noticed that others were listening in and decided maybe that was a good segue into the meeting. He asked Sarah to read Psalm 23 and then began his lesson.
“We live in a world with dangers at every turn. It recently became law in some regions that if you refer to someone that looks like a man, but they want to be referred to as a woman using the wrong pronoun; you can be sued. Our nation has become so super sensitive it is difficult to live life without offending someone. Unfortunately that is just one area. We have temptations, work/life balance issues, family functions and dysfunctions to work through and so many other obstacles to overcome.
How do we learn to steer through these things? It all begins with some self examination. Write out your values and things that you want to live up to. Possibly specific Bible verses, Boy Scout Laws, leadership lists and other standards of behavior can be a good base for these examinations. Take these different items and decide daily where you really stand. Are you living up to your own values? If you are not that is where you need to start. Truth is that too many people claim to be Christians but don’t live up to the standards that God sets for us. Yes it is true that Grace covers over our sins and it gets us to Heaven. However, to live an abundant life and to demonstrate our love for God we need to do the best that we can. It is also true that raising the standard gives us an opportunity to talk about God. When I was in the Army I was convicted that I should not partake in alcoholic beverages. This would cause many conversations that would easily lead to opportunities to witness as other soldiers would ask why I was not drinking. All convictions can work that way. Why do you not go see the pornographic movies, why do you go to church, etc. We get to share our faith with others every time we hold to convictions. But first we must decide what we really believe. This week I would like to give you a basic example. When you wake up or before you go to bed you pull out your list of standards that you are determined to live by. On my list are the Boy Scout laws. I learned long ago that I don’t have time to do all of them in one sitting. If I try to do so I rush through them and the examination is not very well done. So I take four a day for three days and then move onto other items that I use for evaluation, like the ten commandments, the beatitudes and military leadership traits.
So today I am starting with A Scout is trustworthy. I simply consider, “Have I been trustworthy this week?” I replay in my mind all of the opportunities that I have had this week to display this trait. “How am I doing?” It is critical that I am honest and holistic. Maybe I was trustworthy at work but not at home. Consider how you can make that better in the weeks to come and write out your evaluation and any resolutions for change that you need to make. You would then move on to A Scout is loyal. Same thing there. This typically takes less than 10 minutes and gives you concrete things to help you grow.
Knowing where we stand on our own values is a great place to start on learning to steer through the dangers of our modern world.