A&E airs Intervention. It’s an Emmy Award winning series. The show’s website describes it like this…
Intervention™ is a powerful and gripping television series in which people confront their darkest demons and seek a route to redemption. The Intervention Television series profiles people whose dependencies on drugs and alcohol or other compulsive behavior has brought them to a point of personal crisis and estranged them from their friends and loved ones.
Very few shows reveal sinful behavior in the dark, depressing way that the producers of this show do. A single episode can send a surge of darkness through you as you watch how far people can slip. Lives wasted. Lives lost. I confess that I’m unable to watch it very often, but every time I do – I’m made to understand how Heaven may view our behavior, our choices and our conduct when we go against God. Alcohol, drugs and other abuses destroy people – and families. As we’re introduced to people we don’t know, and families we’ve never met, we can cry when we see a little boy cry over the sinful behavior of a wayward sister, or brother. Or a father.
2Pet. 2:22 “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
He was a father of five. For decades he was what the therapist called, “a functioning alcoholic.” That is, he was able to hold down a job and fool most of the people most of the time. But he was a terrible husband and father. His drinking was taking a toll on his physical life. It had already wrecked his family. He was just too drunk to see it.
Dictionary.com defines it as “interposition or interference of one state in the affairs of another.” When it comes to personal intervention it’s far more personal. It’s highly personal. It’s an interference of the best kind (or worst, depending on your point of view).
“You’re not gonna tell me how to live,” says the rebellious child. Or the alcoholic father.
At his worst, any father’s fear is that his children will follow his bad example. We all mess up. We all make poor choices sometimes. And when we do, we sure don’t want people to do as we do – certainly not our kids. Sadly, the alcoholic father had raised a son who was just like him. Harry Chapin’s sad song – Cat’s In The Cradle – springs to mind.
I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then
This alcoholic father of five had lived the life of a functioning drunk. His son had grown up to be just like him. But now the son was in far worse physical shape than dad. Bleeding from the nose and stomach, the son was dying before their very eyes. Two men in one home. Ruled by drugs and alcohol. Hardly the party scene of fun and frivolity. No, it was a scene of a little boy – the youngest son – crying over the behavior of his dad and big brother. It was the scene of a crying wife and mother. A woman who had little hope of having a healthy husband and son. It was a story of wrecked lives. And a wrecked family.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Do not err, my beloved brethren.”
During the pre-intervention interviews with the family the counselor asks, “What do you want to see happen?” In every case the answer is the same, “I want him to change.”
God looks at our lives and wants the same thing. He wants us to be better. To live righteously. To make changes. To live productive, profitable lives.
But somewhere along the way a life turns south toward selfishness. People make their own life the focal point of all that matters. The alcoholic dad isn’t thinking of his wife, or his kids. He’s thinking only of himself.
In every episode I’ve watched (and I’ve seen dozens through the years), the therapist always says the same thing to the family – “He’s thinking only of himself. He’s manipulating you. He’s unconcerned with the pain he’s causing you, or the family. Or even the pain he’s inflicting on himself.”
Sin’s bottom line is always the same – SELF.
Sin’s net result is always the same – spiritual and eternal death.
I sit quietly and watch this father express the fear. Fear that he’d raise a son who would behave just as he had behaved. Fear granted. The result achieved. He’s grown up just like dad. But worse.
I watched the father cry and during his own intervention – which obviously didn’t include the wayward son – agree to enter a rehab facility. He told his family he was sorry. He promised them he’d go for help. And still, he knew his family would never be whole as long as his son was lost to drugs and alcohol. He also knew he could not make the choices for his son. He could only hope for the best, but he clearly feared the worst.
And the son did not disappoint. He stormed out of the room, cussing all who were there, the moment he saw the family and knew what they were going to ask. The show ended with his refusal to accept their interference, even though it was interference driven by love, concern and care.
I watched a family’s heart break. As he walked out the door I saw them lose somebody they cared deeply about. It was tragic. Heart wrenching.
A self-centered young man walked down the sidewalk, still cursing his family, thinking only of himself. He left behind a family whose life was dramatically affected by his behavior. He didn’t care. They did.
Sin. It does horrible things to people. All people. Even you and me.
God is partial to nobody.
Rom. 2:11 “For there is no respect of persons with God.”
Sin isn’t partial either. Sin will bite and devour anybody. Sin will compel a man to be hateful toward a wife. It will compel him to violate the vows he made to her. It will offer him opportunities to grow increasingly more selfish as he fulfills the lusts in his life. It will compel him to pave the way toward Hell for his children. More often than not, they’ll follow him. Faithfully.
Sin brings on the greatest sorrow and dispair humans can know.
No life is so wrecked, no pain caused is so deep – that God cannot forgive. And save.
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”
Man. Woman. Boy. Girl.
We all need salvation from the sins that would rob us of our happiness here – but most importantly, rob us of our soul forever. Nothing is worth losing our soul. Nothing is worth destroying your life, your family or your soul. But daily people choose to serve themselves. They barter their soul for the cheapest, seediest things in life.
Matt. 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
A father’s fear, a family’s tragedy stems from a basic refusal to obey God.
Matt. 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Fear. Failure. Fatigue. Tragedy. Sorrow. These are just the tip of the iceberg of sin’s destructive power.
Joy. Peace. Care. Compassion. Support. These are just the tip of the iceberg of Christ’s power to save.
Like the subjects of Intervention, we decide. Others may urge us. They may show us their pain. They may show us the way with love and concern. Our selfishness and stubbornness may rule. Or we may decide submission is the path to redemption.
But we’ll decide. We’ll choose. For ourselves.
Submission is the answer. Surrender isn’t cowardly, but courageous. Fathers and families need the Lord. Mothers and daughters need the Lord. Little boys and little girls need the Lord. We all need the Lord.
Josh. 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”