Wednesday, July 30, 2008

intervention

One of the most mesmerising television shows I have ever watched is Intervention. A camera crew follows an addict around and you see all the destructive patterns they engage in. You sometimes see bravado, sometimes anger and bitterness, often hopelessness displayed in these poor ones souls as they shoot substances into their veins, drink their way into oblivion, or inhale smoke to alter their reality. They are trapped. They cannot help themselves. Things get desperate enough that the family and friends decide that an intervention is necessary. This means that the family makes a break; they stop making it easy for the addict to continue in their current lifestyle; they stop enabling the destructive behaviour. The handouts, the free food and board, the open door and welcoming arms, the acceptance of abusive behaviour, and the guilt gifts all stop.

It is tough stuff, letting someone you love suffer dire consequences for their bad choices. But bailing them out of trouble time after time does nothing to set them free. It simply reinforces the mistaken belief that they can continue abusing their spirit, soul, body, and mind, and take advantage of the goodwill of people who love them without repercussion.

But isn't that what love does? Give unconditionally? No. Love IS unconditional, but it does not give all to everyone in every circumstance. That would be indulgence. Love gives perfectly. Love calls one to more. Love invites the beloved to change. It is given freely, but it is not given cheaply. Love gushes out at the behest of the lover, not at the demand of the recipient.

Reading through Hosea, I see that God is in the business of intervention. He will not enable our bad choices nor keep funding our destructive lifestyles. He will cut off our escape routes and wipe out the places we go for our habitual fixes of self-delusion until the easiest choice is to surrender to his way. It is the only way to extricate us from the powerful web of death we have entangled ourselves in.

Come on, lets go back to God. He hurt us, but he'll heal us. He hit us hard, but he'll put us right again. In a couple of days we'll feel better. By the third day he'll have made us brand new. Alive and on our feet, fit to face him. - from Hosea 6, The Message

The best part of the show is always seeing the person months later, clear-eyed, content, and actually themselves for the first time in years after detox and some hard work at a rehab centre. And that would never have happened if someone had not stepped in and said, "No more."

When they finally hit rock bottom, maybe they'll come looking for me. - from Hosea 5, The Message

There is still so much I do not really understand about love.

This is a picture of Christ Church in downtown Montreal.

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