Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. (Ezek. 18:30)
Expanded Passage: Ezekiel 18:29-30
Several years ago, a pastor befriended an unbelieving man who suffered from alcohol addiction. Over time the pastor’s kindness led the alcoholic to accept Jesus as his Savior. After experiencing spiritual freedom, the man longed for deliverance from his addiction as well. However, the man’s friends frequented the bar; and when he was with those friends, he was most tempted to drink.
“If you hear I’m at the bar, I want you to get me out of there,” the man told his newest friend, the pastor. However, he warned, “I might not be willing to leave once I’ve had a few beers. Knock me out if you must. Just help me overcome this.” The pastor promised to help.
One day the pastor heard that the man was at the bar, so he went in and pleaded with him to leave. Sure enough, the man had had a few drinks and didn’t want to go. So, the pastor honored his friend’s request: he knocked him out and physically dragged him out of the bar. (He also remained faithfully by his side until he was sober.)
The next day, one of the man’s drinking buddies declared, “That pastor must truly care about you. He loves you enough to punch your lights out for your own good!” With gratitude, the man agreed, and so may we — not to endorse the method, perhaps, but to appreciate the motive. Love had set him free.
Find healing in confessing and forsaking your sins.
Laura Hurd is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and holds a master’s degree from Wesley Seminary. She copastors with her husband, Jason, in rural Nebraska.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.