“I don’t have a problem”

It is consistent every TG summer program. Young men, say in their own way: “I don’t have a problem, I don’t need to look at my story, my family life was perfect, I don’t self-medicate and I have already worked through my issues.”

Like flashing red lights on their personal dashboards, these statements are sure indicators that the opposite is true. It is amid these blaring red lights that a partnership begins between the Spirit of God, the TG staff and the young man in front of us.

It is a dance between healing and “Hypothetical Sin.” Recently my pastor said, “We are in danger of having hypothetical sin, when we do we hypothetically need to be saved and we need a hypothetical Savior…”

I have seen the “hypothetical sin problem” over and over in my own life and in the lives of men I know. We consent to having sin or brokenness, yet when we are actually confronted by it, we run, fight, or dismiss it as the way it has always been.

When our sin is hypothetical and confronted by the truth, we fight with all we have trying to regain the fragile mental or emotional balance of the mask we wear. Some men self-medicate with drugs, sex, alcohol, food, blaming, negativity and even with religion. Still others surrender to a fierce tirade of introspection and mental debate to regain control .

Over the years I have seen tears, personal and physical attacks and dramatic increase in coping efforts- these are all glaring red lights meaning we are close to the important issues. We are also as close as we have ever been to moving a man from a hypothetical sin or a hypothetical savior to the reality of being met by a very real Savior who meets us in our heartache, pain, and story.

We believe we cannot take someone where we have not been willing to go ourselves. When working to help change lives, we get to be honest with ourselves and must be willing to ask the hard questions and challenge the self-medication. This process can be messy and difficult. It is our calling to cooperate with God, learn to receive from Him, and teach our guys to receive from God as well.

Lee Maize