This morning I was reminiscing of all the people I have seen return to their vomit over the roughly 13 years I have been at this whole Christian thing. Some specific people, faces, and memories came to mind … the breaking of covenants with God, with spouses, with children, and with friends. Some of these breaks I could see coming miles away, others I could not. Either way, they are heart wrenching each and every time. I pray I don’t grow calloused. Peter wrote that it is better for one to not have known the ways of righteousness than to have known it and turned their backs on the sacred command passed to them (2 Pet 2:17-22). Now is it possible for someone to return to their vomit, and then once more return to repentance and following the Lord? Sure I would imagine it is, for God desires that all men come to a knowledge of the truth and thus be saved (1 Tim 2:4) and that His patience is designed to lead us to repentance (Rom 2:4), but I also know that the bible speaks of a point of no return to repentance (Heb 10:26-27, 6:4-5). Where is this point of no return exactly? We can only speculate, and we would be wise not to. For more on this topic see “Fall Away”. I thought of what a vividly disgusting image it is to return to vomit. I thought of the smell, the textures, the colors, the feeling of convulsing uncontrollably, dry heaving, and the mess that it is. I thought of the drunken spewing, brawling and unconsciousness. I thought of Wes dying that night in front of me after his neck being broken in a brawl. I thought of the many others that I saw die at young ages … all vomit. I thought of the countless times I drove behind the wheel of a car completely out of touch with reality hopped up on all kinds of hard drugs. Cocaine. Ecstasy. LSD. Pain pills. Marijuana. Opium. Alcohol. So many I can’t even remember all the names … many at the same time. It is almost a miracle that God has allowed so many of my neurons and synapses to reconnect and work as effectively as they do. And yet, many years of my young life are but a blurred memory caused by comatosely drug-induced states of mind. I thought of the countless nights I spent lonely, crying, and the immense amounts of pain and agony over the life of suffering I could find no way out of. I thought of the night I almost killed myself in the only logical attempt I could find to end the suffering. And then I thought about going back to it all. What stupidity. Sure, maybe now my vomit wouldn’t be so ‘horrific’. It would be more sophisticated. Dressed up with age, stature, money, and other dogs around sharing in high society vomit. I might not be passed out at the base of some apartment community’s staircase, now I would simply be having an affair on my spouse, disengaged from my children, drinking and doing drugs in a way that was ‘recreational’ and ‘functional’, allowing me to continue to earn a paycheck and keep an honorable job. Yet still lonely inside. Still suffering. Still eating vomit. Not that I am above this, or anything else for that matter. I have experienced vomit enough to know that I am capable of truly anything. Truly anything. No horror, abuse, atrocity, or inhumane act is beyond the power of my flesh. It is this sober estimate (Rom 12:3), faith and gratitude (Jn 6:67-69), and God himself (Phil 2:13) that I believe keeps me from returning. Nothing else. It also made me think not only of my own sadness, but of what God must feel as his love for these people, and me, is so far above my own that it is not able to be justly compared. We yell at a dog, “NO!” when it goes back to lap up it’s own vomit, the dog thinking that it is rich in nutrients and sustenance not realizing that it’s own body rejected it the first time around. And so we try to help the dog avoid vomiting once more, not because we want the dog to have no fun, enjoy itself, or be a cruel and harsh master … because we care for it.
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