You Cannot Save Everyone

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Although I, as a human, with feelings of humanity, like to see people stop their destructive behavior, and I try to help them with this, some people are hell-bent (and this is where they are heading) on destroying themselves.  It’s like seeing some fool paddling a kayak about to go over Rapids that drop as abruptly as Niagara Falls.

This makes me as crazy as The Three Stooges at the mention of Niagara Falls.  “NI AG RA FALLS.  Slowly I turned, step by step…”

I just saw a photo by Bryant McGill that someone posted on Face Book that reads:

“You cannot save everyone

Some people are

going to destroy themselves

no matter how much

you try to help them.”

Recently, two drunks I know were kicked out of homes because of chronic drunkenness.  They had plenty of warnings.  One of them is homeless.  The homeless drunk had been drinking on an off yesterday.  He and other drunks continued a quarrel that had started the day before, only other people were added to the blow up.  I suggested making a video and sending it to Jerry Springer.  Maybe he would invite the people on his show.

Last night one of sober people in the congregation audio recorded the ruckus and played it back to the perpetrators to let them know how they sounded.

Some of the drunks last night messed up their glasses, and one of them received a summons for falling asleep drunk in the street.

In the words of the old folk song:

“When will they ever learn?

When will they ever learn?”

My friend who had a drug problem but then got a job and I believed got straight, which I reported in my last blog, fell back again, according to word on the street.

Addiction to smoking is also destructive behavior that, no matter what you do to try to stop some people on this destructive course, they still insist on poisoning themselves. I’ve been taking a friend for treatment for lung cancer and helping to feed her, as she looks like what author Tom Wolfe calls an “X-ray” person, and have been encouraging her to drink Gatorade.

Recent results from a CAT scan showed that the chemo was successfully fighting the cancer.  Yet she continues to smoke!  At the treatment center, I saw people who got treatment in the chemo room just outside the building smoking!  I felt like approaching them like a drill sergeant and yelling “what kind of stupid are you?”

My friend’s doctor’s assistant told her that smoking under minds the cancer treatment.  She told me I should continue to tell my friend to stop smoking, as will she.

I’ve been keeping my friend’s food stamp card to make sure she doesn’t trade food vouchers for money for cigarettes.  Still, when she’s not bumming cigarettes from friends and even perfect strangers, she scours the ground and ashtrays for used butts to smoke.  And when someone gave her money, she bought cigarettes with it.  On one occasion, when she started using found money for food, she lied and told me she was out of money and bummed money from me.  Later that day I found her standing in a store line to, what else, buy cancer sticks.

Addictions become so strong that addicts lose their moral compass.  One drug addict boasted “I am the King of the panhandlers.”  On one occasion, he panhandled at a community meal from another homeless person! Yesterday he was in a local laundry where he panhandled.

Earlier on with my informal ministry with the homeless, I tried to help some alcoholics I befriended with their addiction.  They went off the deep end, especially two of them.  One of them took the attitude of Walt, the high school chemistry teacher in the AMC series Breaking Bad, who, once he learned he had cancer, started acting irresponsibly, and started making drugs and helping to push them.  The other one, a well educated woman with whom I occasionally had interesting conversations and at one point thought I was in love with, kept stealing, lying and manipulating as result of her character flaw that created such a drunk.

On one occasion, when I was trying to counsel the Breaking Bad character, when he was physically and figuratively outside the homeless gang I hung out with, one of them yelled out “Jeff, don’t waste your time with him” and added that there are other people out there who need help and are more receptive to it.

When these friends with addictions started heading towards the ash heap of history, I emailed a friend at the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN), which also help the homeless, and told her how saddened I was that these people would not turn around.  She responded that when she first started working with the homeless she thought she could change the world but came to grips with reality.  She told me that you can’t make them change and all you can do is show them God’s love…

There’s a guy in the circle I’m in who is practically going out of his mind with alcohol fueling it.  He was treated and made a profession of faith but then started slipping.  A few months ago, when he sat next to me on the AHTN bus he said “Jeff, I need a follow up” of his treatment.  Recently, I sat next to him at a community meal.  He shared he felt there was no hope.  I told them there was an introduced him the concept of sanctification.  I explained that when you come to Christ and confess your sins and get right with God, this is only a start.  And I shared my story about overcoming hopelessness.

God continues to work with you to make you more like Christ, perfect.  Perfection was only achieved in this world by Jesus.  By studying the scriptures, praying, and fellowshipping with other Christians we grow in God’s grace and become more like Christ.

Jay Adams, pastor and counselor, said that Christians have mental problems because sanctification either slows down or even stops, and the key is to, as the apostle Paul wrote,  use the Bible for “disciplined training in righteousness” to keep us in sync with the one who wrote the book on how to be right human beings.

I attend the 12 Steps Journey Program to help me with my pent up anger, anxiety issues.  Like my friend, I was about to give up hope until I returned to the Lord, and followed up with this program.

All we can do is to try to send people on the right path, as does Evangelist in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress   and become God’s ambassadors.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”  — 2 Corinthians 5:20.