Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. —Galatians 6:9
If you love someone who struggles with a substance-abuse problem, you know that your emotions and his can be like riding a rollercoaster—up and down. Today he wants help; tomorrow he’s drinking or is high on drugs again. Today she’s being honest; tomorrow she’s running from the truth.
The Holy Spirit helps us learn how to love people like that, even in their sins and struggles. Here are a few principles we can put into practice:
Treat the person with respect. Be gentle when trying to restore him (Galatians 6:1). But don’t do for him what he should do for himself. Don’t get in the way of the consequences that God can use to bring change.
Remember that you do not have the power to change another person. Instead, ask God to help you become the person He wants you to be (vv.4-5).
Reach out in love. Seek God’s wisdom in what to say and do in each encounter (James 1:5). Then rebuke or be silent—in love.
Depend on God. You will make mistakes. But anchor yourself in God’s Word and continually commit yourself and your loved one to the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6).
Making some of these choices can help to slow down the rollercoaster ride of changing emotions.
Love is an attitude, love is a prayer
For someone in sorrow, a heart in despair;
Love is goodwill for the gain of another,
Love suffers long with the fault of a brother.
Love helps people even when it hurts.