“To open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been consecrated by faith in me. You can see that the light is shining on everyone and that you are all connected in its radiance.” Acts 26:18
In jail ministry, we see a lot of people whose lives have been forever altered by drugs and alcohol. Their addiction causes them to make life choices that lead them to stealing, robbery, selling drugs, burglary, breaking and entering, and many other bad life choices. They do this to get the drugs or booze they need to make them “feel good.”
As Doctor Phil often asks a guest, “So, how is that working for you?” Not very well, you would answer. Their lives are going nowhere and only a complete turn-around will save them from imprisonment.
The word for a complete turn-around in Greek is metanoia, the root for repentance. Real repentance involves this 180 degree turnaround. I often say it is moving toward the light (God) and away from darkness (The devil).
If the direction we are going, the friends we have, and the addictions we embrace are taking us in the direction of darkness, and the result is winding up in a jail cell, then no matter how good we think the drugs or alcohol make us feel, it isn’t working!
If we beat our heads against the same wall, at some point we have to turn left or right, or turn-around to stop the pain, permanently.
Moving toward light, and away from darkness involves two steps;
First, we must understand that the current direction isn’t working. It is a dead end street to pain, misery and unhappiness.
Second, we must ask for God’s help. We need to understand that we are not capable of overcoming these addictions ourselves. It takes divine intervention, a higher power, it takes God’s help. We must humbly pray for divine help.
Often, I suggest the simple prayer, “Lord, get me through this day (today).” One day at a time, with God’s help, we can change our lives. We can have a metanoia. We can have true repentance. We can move toward the light and away from darkness, away from a world blocked with our own shadow, and into the light that is the tender presence of our Lord.