It’s always easy for someone to tell someone else what they’d do in their situation. Especially when they aren’t in the situation themselves.
The all too familiar, If I were you I would…, is common in these scenarios.
But honestly, if they were us they don’t have a clue what they would do.
And that’s why they don’t understand that we love someone who struggles through an addiction.
Sure, the addict hurts us time and time again. We forgive them. They do it again. All the while, our friends and family witness the cycle and wonder whether we’ve lost our minds or not.
They tell us to quit, to move on, and to stop living in this situation. Our friends tell us the case is hopeless and that the addict will never change. Our family says we should stop allowing this person to hurt us so much.
And all of them tell us we’re crazy.
But the truth is that we aren’t crazy. We just believe in some things that seem crazy from the outside looking in. And these 3 things make us look crazy, sometimes that make us feel crazy, but the only thing truly crazy in this situation would be to do anything other than these 3 things.
So, what are they? What are the 3 things we’ve been holding on to that make us look crazy but, in reality, are the farthest thing from crazy as possible?
All 3 are found in this verse:
“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT).
So, is it crazy to hold on to 3 things that will last forever? Some may say it is and will perhaps even think we’re crazy for believing them. But what really seems crazy would be to try to cheer an addict on using something that won’t last. Something that will break down and crumble under pressure. That would be crazy.
Faith, hope, and love, however, are not crazy. But they are effective.
So, what are they? And how do we apply them to our situation of loving an addict and cheering that person on through addiction?
Most likely, you already know. Even if you don’t know that you know. You’ve probably been holding on to these 3 concepts and applying them to your situation.
And that’s why friends and family think you’re crazy.
Let’s look at each one closely. Perhaps doing so will show us that we aren’t crazy at all.
Faith “gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT).
When we love an addict who keeps relapsing, breaking promises, and showing no signs of permanent change, it’s easy to give up and say the person will never quit using.
And that’s what our friends and family think which is precisely why they think we’re crazy when we think otherwise.
The difference is that we think about the person we love through the eyes of faith. We believe they can change even though they haven’t changed yet. We have faith, or assurance about things we cannot see, that healing is possible.
So, faith tells us that it can happen.
Hope is somewhat similar to faith, only slightly different. While faith tells us the person we love can change, hope tells us that they will change.
And it tells us this in spite of what we see.
Our friends and family who think we’re crazy for cheering on the addict we love see only the outward circumstances.
But we see change through the eyes of hope.
Love, in the context of the main verse about faith, hope, and love, seems to be higher than the other two. Faith and hope are similar, but love, the verse says, is greater.
So, what is love? In a nutshell, it is putting oneself aside for the greater good of someone else.
Love is Jesus praying that the father forgive the people who nailed Him to the cross while they did it. Here, we see that love is willing to be hurt so that the person doing the hurting can be healed.
Now, we don’t advocate at Adult and Teen Challenge that you allow yourself to be abused. But we do promote love.
And since love has come to mean what others can do for me rather than what I can do for others in contemporary society, people who truly love someone through the pain of addiction can seem crazy to other people.
But that’s only because they only see what’s here and now. Not what last forever.
You, on the other hand, aren’t crazy. You’ve just been holding on to 3 things that do last forever: hope, faith, and love – the greatest of the three.