Man Up!

November 13, 2013

I am very glad for our friend Mark Becker who has held a hard line in advocating the “tough love” approach for people struggling with addictions.  Mark is an ex-alcoholic and drug addict and a huge proponent of AA.  Mark counsels that an addict has to desire freedom from their addiction above all else.  All the well-meaning people in the world at an addict’s beckon call are useless if the addict doesn’t want to be clean, owns up to their addiction, and commits him or herself to the humble and difficult process of recovery.

Take the mayor of Toronto as an example.  His story is tragic, yet offensive as well.  This is a man who was videotaped smoking crack cocaine and denied it for months.  Apparently, he even used extortion in an attempt to recover the tape.  It’s to guys like this that I want to shout, “Man Up!”

Read what blogger, Timothy Tennent, recently had to write…

Last week Toronto Mayor Rob Ford finally admitted to smoking crack cocaine.  A video tape had surfaced which made the previous denials difficult to sustain.  When the Major finally spoke publicly about the incident his explanation was, in some ways, more surprising than the original admission.  Mayor Ford said that the incident happened about a year ago, “probably in one of my drunken stupors.”  This statement revealed an important emerging trend in post-modern leadership (Mayor Ford is 44 years old).  Ford is making a distinction between various “selves” which is prominent in post-modern thinking.  He has a “mayoral self” who leads the city of Toronto, and he has a “drunken stupor” self who smokes cocaine, receives a DUI (1999), smokes marijuana (“lots of it”, Ford admitted) and gropes females (e.g candidate Sarah Thomson, March 2013), to name a few.  It has become increasingly common for public figures to say that their ability to govern should be kept separate from these kinds of “indiscretions” or even illegal activity.

It seems there is a new mentality permeating our culture that affirms blaming others for personal faults and copping-out of individual responsibility–even in the area of drug abuse.  We satisfy our consciences with a belief that we live with opposing dual natures and don’t need to take responsibility for the immature, partying, indiscreet half.  This is not only a bad way to live, it’s bad theology.  The glorious power of the Holy Spirit working inside is to transform whatever carnal nature we have (the NT often uses the word “flesh”) into TRULY integrated men and women.  We aren’t schizophrenic, we are HOLY.

Now, please don’t get me wrong.  I understand that many drug abusers suffered horrible traumas in their lives.  Many were introduced to drugs and alcohol at early ages and, certainly, the blame for many, many cases of drug and alcohol abuse does not fall on the abuser’s heads themselves.  The greatest theology in the world doesn’t correct some addictions.  But for some of these cases, like the one involving the aforementioned mayor, I just want to say, “Man Up!”  Tennent continues…

As tragic as this story is, this represents an opportunity for Christian witness in today’s world.  For the Christian, integrity means that we have an “integrated” self, i.e. there is complete continuity between our private life and our public life.  The values which govern us as pastors are the same values which govern us as a husband, a father, a man, a woman, a sister, a mother.  We should represent wholeness in a fragmented world.  I still believe that the world is longing to see wholeness.  They are crying out for people of integrity.  There are few places to look today to find such role models.  This is an opportunity for Christians to demonstrate the true power of the gospel in our lives.  All of our “old” selves which were enslaved to sin have been crucified with Christ, and “it is no longer I who live, but  Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

Proverbs 15 has something to say along these lines, as well…

32 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,
    but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

33 Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,
    and humility comes before honor.

The DSTV reads, “Take the punishment you deserve, because that is the first step in restoring your life!” (Dave’s Straight-Talk Version)