This isn’t me attacking the poor guy. He took plenty of unnecessary flack for being cast as Batman in Batman v. Superman. I am responding to recent news that Affleck completed rehab treatment for alcohol addiction. From the little bit of press coverage, there are things that we as Christians can learn and be reminded of regarding sin.
1. Sin is an ongoing battle
In his Facebook announcement, Affleck said,
“I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront”.
Affleck isn’t so foolish to think that this stint in rehab has cured him of his desire for excessive amounts of alcohol. He realizes that the desire for “just one more” will always be there, that the desire is buried deep inside of him.
We would call that a symptom of his broken or fallen nature. But even as redeemed people under the blood of Christ, we regularly struggle with sin, and the temptation to sin.
Paul says to the Corinthians,
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Sin overtakes, even when we have sought help, even when we have finished the progam. Sin is always right there, stalking us like a predator in the night.
But for us, those whose hope is in Christ
“God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
2. There should be no condemnation for or from us
There was a time when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner would the Hollywood power couple. They didn’t make the tabloid covers, but they did what they could be a functioning family, kids and careers together.
Even after their divorce in 2015, they are working together, mostly for their kids, but in a way that is truly Christlike.
“I’m lucky to have the love of my family and friends, including my co-parent, Jen, who has supported me and cared for our kids as I’ve done the work I set out to do.”
If anyone could have stood in judgement over Affleck, it would have been his ex-wife. She could have easily, and with great accuracy, hurled all kinds of condemnation on him. But she did.
Instead, she displayed what Christ does for us, even when we return to our sinful ways.
“Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who give life has set you free…” – Romans 8:1-2
There is no brow beating from Jesus when we sin. There is no judgmental looks or shaking of His head in disapproval. That isn’t to say that He is pleased or okay with our sin. On the contrary, but Jesus doesn’t judge us when we return repentant to Him.
Jen didn’t condemn Ben. Christ doesn’t condemn us. Nor should we go condemning other Christians.
3. There no shame in needing help
Affleck shared this bit of parental wisdom in the middle of his announcement,
“I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it.”
We all struggle. We all sin. We all need help when we fall down. That is why Paul tells the church,
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
This is to the be mark of the Church that we help those that are struggling, regardless of what the issue is. It could be alcoholism. It could be pornography. It could be any of a host of problems.
Paul encourages us to stand with people when they need help. There is no shame in needing help, because we have all needed help from someone before. Moreover, we were all without strength, in fact, helpless, when Christ loved us and sacrificed himself for all of us (Romans 5:8).
How can we not lend a hand to those in need, when we have been given such a Hand as that of our Gracious Lord?
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