Who hasn't joked about the infamous TV commercial: "I've fallen, and I can't get up!"?
Of course, falling down is no laughing matter; not when it's for real, and someone is hurt.
Who hasn't cringed at a story of an elderly person breaking a hip in a random fall? Or, a story of someone who suffers an incapacitating fall, and isn't found for hours or days? For that matter, who hasn't dreaded the thought of dying in a fall from a great height?
This article details the reality of how devastating a fall can be, especially for the elderly.
Two quotes from the article are especially relevant:
"Falls Merit Complex Care" (from the headline)
It's not likely anyone would fail to appreciate the need for care and rehabilitation for someone who has fallen, either physically or spiritually. But, do we really understand what "complex care" entails? Not likely, until the need for it arises. The difficult, ongoing therapy described in the article is likely to be news to anyone who hasn't been through it, or had a loved one go through it. Healing the wounds of a physical fall involves a great deal more than a bandage and an aspirin. And, the injuries suffered in a fall often go deeper and spread wider than anyone would have thought.
So it is with a spiritual fall as well.
When a Christian falls into sin, the effects can be just as far-reaching, and the healing and restoration that are needed require more time and attention than can be given in a brief conversation at the end of a sermon. Are we prepared to give the time and attention it takes to provide loving accountability to one another in our daily lives? Are we willing to help a struggling Christian overcome sin Monday through Saturday?
The second quote is even more critical, perhaps even haunting:
"For some people...admitting that they fall is tantamount to admitting that they are no longer competent to take care of themselves."
We've all heard sad stories of elderly people struggling to come to terms with their need for assistance. My wife and I know an aging farmer who we learned had suffered repeated falls out on his land, each time warning his farm hands not to breathe a word of it to his wife. Finally, thankfully, one of them did.
How true is this of most of us?
Admitting we fall means admitting we're not self-sufficient.
But, we all know we're not self-sufficient, right? Who would ever claim to be? We're not even supposed to be!
Maybe it's fear of being an imposition. Or, embarrassment over what exactly we've fallen into. Maybe too much of our identity wrapped up in an image of having it "together". Or, an unwillingness to jeopardize our social standing.
Whatever the reason, a Christian who falls into sin and keeps the matter quiet has handed Satan a double victory.
Falling down doesn't have to result in death.
But, how often do we allow it to?