IN THE ACADEMY award-nominated film Traffic, Michael Douglas plays the federal government’s newly appointed drug czar, charged with leading the country’s war on drugs…
In a sad irony, he is so caught up in his rising political career that he is blind to the fact that his own teenage daughter is a drug addict. Because of his wife’s own previous experimentation with drugs, she is able to see what her husband missed–the clear, unmistakable warning signs that her daughter was involved with drugs. When Douglas’ character finally realizes that his own daughter has become hooked on illegal drugs, his wife chastises him for not picking up on the warning signs earlier. The film’s audience feels Douglas’ mix of frustration, self-anger, and helplessness as he realizes that he “should have seen it coming.”
Illicit drug users aren’t the only ones who give warning signs. Research has shown that a wide variety of destructive social behaviors are preceded by visible early-warning signals. Many times, people whose spouses have been unfaithful to them say that, in hindsight, there were signs that something was amiss in the marriage. Similarly, young women suffering from eating disorders often drop clues to their behavior. And frequently those committing suicide will tip off their intentions ahead of time. Of course, not everyone in such situations exhibits the signs. And obviously, not everyone knows how to read the signs properly. But those who do are, more often than not, able to detect that something is wrong and successfully intervene either to prevent or minimize the negative behavior.
Might the same be true for those falling away from the faith? Do those abandoning the Lord telegraph their behavior ahead of time? These are important questions because, if there are some telltale signs that a fellow Christian is drifting away from the faith, keen-eyed believers might be able to act to prevent him or her from falling away. (Brian Simmons)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2