Emmy's Note: Today's guest blog is from PM2 who writes Thoughts of a Traveler. He is the father of Leah who wrote a post earlier, the associate pastor at my church, and my friend. So of course I was glad when he decided to write for this months' theme! I also was happy because he features The West Wing - which happens to be a favorite of another one of my very close friends, Alice. PM2 blogs at Thoughts of a Traveler and Tweets @ThoughtsOfATrav. I'm also blogging on his site today- so check it out!
“J” had been active in his church. He had taught Sunday morning Bible classes, he led a small group and at one time he had been an elder in his church. He had a wide circle of friends, some from inside his church, some from his workplace, and others from his living in the same community where he had gone to school. His relationships, with those friends who were both male and female, he felt were strong.
There was one issue that tormented “J”. He was addicted on pornography. He expended a great deal of emotional energy and thought to keeping his secret secure. One day, his world came crashing down upon him. He had gotten caught in a police sting and arrested. His carefully constructed house of cards came crashing down upon him. He literally went from being on the top of the world to the bottom of the pit. The first negative impact came from his church. Very quickly he was made to feel like a leper, a person who people neither wanted to hear or see. He soon stopped attending altogether, the love and acceptance of church and church friends withdrawn. His employer fortunately stood by him, although with provisions and probations. He lost all the friends at work and from the community. This only deepened the depth of the rejection he felt from within and without.
At this point, he said the strangest thing happened. “L” called “J.” “L” was an employee of the same company. “J” had never worked with him and knew him only casually. “L” simply conveyed that though he didn’t understand what “J” was going through, he didn’t want him go through it alone.
A great clip from the television show “West Wing” tells the story of a man in the pit of life. The younger man, Josh is dealing with PTSD. The older man, Leo is a recovering alcoholic.
When life is easy, when things are going smooth, it is easy to have friends. When life isn’t so wonderful, some “friends” will abandon you but others will stay. There are times in life when it is hard, very hard. Life intervenes with death, job loss, cancer and the multitude of its other challenges. Then there is the pit. The pit is the hole we fall into ourselves. It is usually the product of life decisions that are idiotic, immoral or illegal. That is when we find the real friends in our lives. Those people who will jump into the pit with us.
This is exactly what Jesus does for us. He jumps into the pit of our lives, the misery that we bring upon ourselves. When the mire overwhelms us, he does not leave. When the world abandons us, he does not. When we give up on ourselves, he never gives up. He is the friend of friends. Jesus is talking about us when he says: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. He calls us friend and lays his life down for us.
“J” slowly began to rebuild his life. He got into a program and recovery. Some of the old friends remade connections with him, most did not. While he never did find a new church, he never lost Jesus. I hope that you have friends in your life. I earnestly pray that you have friends who will jump into the pit with you but that you will never need to find out who will jump and who won’t. But you need to know this, Jesus will.