I used to watch this show called “How I met your mother.” It was pretty funny honestly. The finale was kind of a bummer if I’m being honest, but otherwise I thought it was worth setting the DVR for every week. The show was FULL of running jokes that would pop up throughout the seasons, calling back to previous episodes and situations, reminding viewers of something hilarious that had happened, and that this was one of their favorite shows for a reason.
One of those recurring jokes was the “gang” hanging an “Intervention” banner and confronting someone about what the rest of them saw as an issue, but the receiver of the intervention was previously blind to. The show made these situations funny and kind of ridiculous, giving off the idea that interventions could be silly and full of slapstick humor. In real life, they aren’t quite as enjoyable.
I’ve actually been a part of one, an intervention that is, and it was anything but silly. I had to walk into a room and confront one of my childhood leaders about a drug addiction. It was awful. I was wracked with anxiety and shook like a leaf right before it falls off the tree in autumn. If I had stood up, I probably would have fallen myself. But I went, and sat in the room, and spoke when it was needed – because I felt called to do so.
Let me explain a little more what I mean by “called.” The truth is, I didn’t want to be there. Like at all. In fact, if it had only been up to me, I wouldn’t have gone. The other people involved actually gave me permission to beg out. They said “you don’t have to be here, we can handle it without you” – and yet, I went anyway. The reason I went, is because every, single, time I sat down and thought or prayed about it, I felt this voice saying to me “you should go.” I remember arguing with the voice – telling it that it was wrong.
“No, they said they didn’t need me.”
“You should go.”
“I’m just going to sit there and not say anything.”
“You should go.”
“I’ve never done anything like this, I’m just going to screw something up.”
“YOU SHOULD GO.”
“But I don’t want to.”
And so, my firstborn and responsible tendencies kicked in, and I went – and boy was I glad I did.
The meeting went well, but there came a point at which it became incredibly clear to me WHY I was there. My presence was the impetus for the decision for my friend to attend rehab and get their life back on the right track. I won’t reveal what was said, I’ll just say that to this day I believe with everything in my being, that if I had not been there, the meeting would’ve ended with a different, less positive result.
Times like the ones I’ve just described, are the ABSOLUTE hardest part of being in relationships and a part of a community, but they are also some of the most IMPORTANT ones. Without accountability and the loving correction of others, we would live our lives only through the lens of self, selfishness, and completely unchecked. THAT would be dangerous.
Now I am not suggesting that one enters into the role of intervener lightly. Not many things have the power to permanently damage a relationship like telling someone who’s not expecting it that part of their life is a mess. So, before you do it, I’d suggest you do a few things.
- Talk to another close and trusted friend to see if they too see the issue in the life of your shared friend. No gossip. No slander – just “this is what I am seeing. Are you seeing it too, or am I way off here?”
- Pray about it. Ask God if you need to step in and be involved. Ask Him for proper perspective, the right words to say, and a heart and attitude of love. KNOW that you are called to step in, and how you’re going to do it
- Consider and make a plan for how YOU personally are going to be involved in the person’s life and the plan to change their life moving forward. If you’re called to say something, there’s a high likelihood that you’re a big enough part of that person’s life, that they’re going to need you and your help to overcome their issues in the future.
On television, everything usually winds up resolving itself for the better. People hug, kiss, and make up. Real life is much more messy. It’s what happens when people live life with other people. Sometimes, perhaps even many times, we have blind spots in our lives, and we need our community to come calling – and to listen when they do. Hopefully, you’ve surrounded yourself with people willing to love you enough to say something when you need them to – and there’s a decent chance you’ll probably need to be the one saying something too. Life is better (not always easier or more fun), when community works the way it’s intended to. God is calling us to care for each other – let’s make sure we’re listening.