As someone who got my writing career started in entertainment, I tend to stay pretty aware of what’s going on in the world (and indeed, it is a world of its own); at least, in general. And so, when I read the news about Philip Seymour Hoffman dying of an overdose on Super Bowl Sunday, my heart sank a bit. I didn’t know him, but I was indeed a respecter of how seriously he took his acting talent and when I read how old he was, that made the ending of his story even more tragic. 46 is so young.
However, what I think got to me more than anything else was the fact that reportedly, he had gone 23 years clean and just two years ago, he relapsed (it made me think about how one spirit leaves and seven come back in Matthew 12:45, actually). Not only that, but last May, he went into rehab in fear that what ended up being his fate would indeed happen.
He saw the warning signs but his addiction overtook him. It happens every day.
And now, I’m not sure what he’ll be known for more: the Oscar he won for his flawless acting role in Capote or…let’s just say the news headline explaining how he was found by his friend.
I won’t even begin to presume what Mr. Hoffman’s final moments were like. That’s between him and God and them alone. I will say this, though: Before anyone tries to determine his afterlife fate, we must remember what I Corinthians 4:5(NKJV) tells us: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” Not to mention the very beautiful exchange between Christ and the thief on the cross. As he was dying, the assurance that Christ gave him that he would be with him in paradise. Indeed, sometimes it only takes a word—to change a total outcome.
Yet this message isn’t about “scaring” anyone into sobriety. This message is about reminding us all of what grace is for: mercy, yes—to a degree. But more importantly, divine favor.
As more and more details came throughout the day, I couldn’t help but to think about how one, it only takes one relapse to end our lives (or at least the quality of life as we know it) and two, the promise found in Hebrews 4:16(NKJV): “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
On the topic of grace, I have this conversation with people fairly often, actually. It’s fascinating to me how people tend to overlook that grace is more for power than for pardon. That if, for instance, you run a red light in front of a police officer and you don’t get a ticket, I wouldn’t recommend thanking God for “grace”. That’s more like mercy. If you were using grace, you probably wouldn’t have ran the light to begin with.
My point? Well, I read in an article recently that some people choose to see grace as an acronym: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. I like that because divine favor is indeed a rich blessing from the Father and it’s wonderful to know that whenever we need it, no matter what state we might be in, we can come to him for it. For power…even before we ever need to be pardoned.
As someone who has battled with her own porn and sex demons, personally, I took the news about Mr. Hoffman as a real wake-up call. A reminder that sometimes what tempts us brings forth deadly consequences and again, it only takes one time (or one return) to do it.
No matter who you are or what you’ve done, grace is divine favor, a free gift and a real lifesaver. – Tweet this!
So, before you go—or go back—to your own stronghold, please run to the throne first.
Grace Is a Real Lifesaver by XXXchurch.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.