When a Loved One Hits Bottom

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Are you feeling the pain and distress of watching an adult child or a friend make terrible choices? Maybe you’ve scrambled to fix their problems, you’ve given advice, you’ve bailed them out more than once, you’ve prayed more times than you can count—only to find out a week or month or year later that they’ve once again hit bottom.

C.S. Lewis says, “It is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in … every family since the world began. … In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

We assume that the proud man is the one who struts around like a peacock, but that is a caricature. Pride is usually far more subtle. When a woman, while in the company of friends, rolls her eyes at the way another woman is dressed, she is saying, “I am superior to her.” When a man monopolizes a conversation, his message is, “I matter more than you do.” But the ultimate pride is the belief that we are the gods of our own lives, a belief held by not only atheists but many individuals who give God a nod of recognition each Sunday while continuing in the illusion that they are capable of managing their own affairs.

“Pride precedes destruction; an arrogant spirit gives way to a nasty fall,” says Proverbs.* Dismissing the instruction of God in favor of going in one’s own direction inevitably ends in disaster. Therefore, when your loved one is suddenly crushed and it’s too painful to watch, remember that this might just be that turning point at which they realize how small and vulnerable they are. Humiliation as a result of hitting bottom is not at all a bad thing when it compels a person to finally look up and acknowledge, “I can control nothing; I am weak and broken. I need a Savior.”

16:18, the Voice