The only thing worse than losing a basketball game is losing it by one point at the last second.
The reason is that that score is final.
All throughout the game, each team suffers setbacks and enjoys comebacks. It is a back-and-forth journey. But at some point, finality hits.
Loving someone with an addiction is sort of like a basketball game. We experience wins along the way, but we also experience setbacks.
And it is easy to view those setbacks as final. But if the person you love is still alive, the final buzzer hasn’t rung. Setbacks may set you back, but they are not final.
There is, however, something that is final. Something that will never end. Something that will last forever.
That is hope.
Check out this promise from Scripture:
“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love…” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
When we refocus after a broken promise, an argument, or a relapse, we see that beyond the setback is a fresh hope to cling to.
That’s because addictions don’t last forever, but hope does. That means that even when we feel like hope is lost, we can know that it is still available.
And having hope is vitally important because it does 3 important things that we cannot do on our own.
Let’s take a look at each one together.
From the outside looking in, other people may wonder why we even persist. Why we continue helping someone who keeps messing up. Honestly, it doesn’t make sense.
We can’t answer those questions. But hope can.
Because of hope, we stay in the fight. We continue giving chances. We never stop loving.
Hope makes sense of why we try over and over again. So no, we cannot answer with sound logic as to why we never give up. But hope answers that question for us.
2. Hope Gives Grace We Can’t Give
In spite of how much it hurts us, the addict we love needs grace. The person needs to be understood. And sometimes, we cannot understand.
We don’t have enough grace to give endlessly after being hurt over and over again. It’s difficult to encourage someone who keeps messing up. We feel like they should just make the decision to quit and then stop. But when they don’t, they need grace. In fact, they need more grace than we can give.
They need the kind of grace that hope gives.
The hope inside of us – hope for change, hope for something better – empowers us to give grace beyond our means.
Hope gives, through us, the grace the addict we love has to have. And it does so in spite of the fact that we cannot give that much grace ourselves.
3. Hope Inspires Changes We Can’t Make
The motto, “just believe in yourself,” is hard for addicts. We have to understand that deep down inside of every addicted mom, dad, son, daughter, brother, sister, etc. is a true love for the people around them. The person really does want to change. But addiction resists changes at all times.
So when the addict hurts you by not changing, underneath the fights and arguments, the person is even more upset with themselves. They lose belief in their ability to overcome. So what they need is for someone else to believe in them.
But how do we believe in someone to change when he or she isn’t making those changes?
That’s where hope comes in.
Even though we can’t believe in someone to change who hasn’t consistently shown otherwise, hope for change bleeds out of us. The other person feels it. The addict you love can sense the hope you have.
And that hope may be exactly what that person needs in order to make the changes you desperately want to see.
Hope, therefore, does things we cannot do. It answers questions we cannot answer, gives grace we cannot give, and inspires changes we cannot make.
And even though setbacks only last for a season, hope lasts forever.