We have been looking at the sad story of my brother, Jimmy, as an example of the dangers of neglecting to use the armour God provides for us: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:10-11 NIV)
We pick up the story today, after he took up a post as a pastor. Time went on, and I moved to North America and got married. My wife and I ended up in Canada where I got a job as a French teacher. It was tough being so far from my family, and with the bad choices I knew my brother was making, it made it all the harder to have an ocean between us. When my parents offered to fly us to Belgium for Christmas one year, we jumped at the chance to see the family again.
Though no one said anything, things were definitely not right with my brother. Because he lived near the international airport in Brussels, it was decided that he would drive us to the airport when it was time to leave. The night before we were to leave, I remembered the vision I had received from my Heavenly Father. As Jimmy helped us with our luggage the next day, I reminded him of the message God had given him. Jimmy’s response? “It’s too late!”
“No, Jimmy,” I urged. “It’s never too late with God!”
He continued to shake his head. “It’s too late!”
It was obvious my brother didn’t want to change his lifestyle. He had become so completely lost in his sex scandals that he no longer cared about anything else except for playing with prostitutes. I cried for him.
A few years later, the church that paid my brother’s salary got wind of the sex scandals, and he was fired. Our dad had passed away a few months earlier, and our mother decided to fly out to visit us in Canada. As she was afraid to fly alone, she invited Jimmy to accompany her.
The entire two week visit was a nightmare. We had two preschool children at the time, and my brother yelled at them constantly, despite the fact that they weren’t doing anything wrong. If they wanted to go somewhere, such as to the park, etc., he would have a little tantrum, yelling out at about how he was in charge, and he was the one who would decide what we did.
We spent a lot of those two weeks in a shopping mall, where my brother would continually ask my mother to buy him things. If she refused, he would have a tantrum until he got his way. I could see that my mother was afraid of him. To make matters worse, he would then lord it over me that she had bought something for him without buying anything for me: “See how much mom loves me?”
I truly didn’t care what he bought, but I was sorry to see my mother so scared. She was a great, loving mom, but I didn’t know what to do and neither did she. It was evident that my brother’s life had continued to spiral in the downward direction. If it continued, what would happen to him? And perhaps a better question: What would happen to my mom?
We could do nothing but pray…for him, and for my mother. Unfortunately, when I mentioned prayer to Jimmy, he wasn’t interested at all… When they went back to Belgium, I cried. I would miss my mom, naturally, but the source of my tears was my brother’s downward spiral and the way he was controlling our mom.
If only Jimmy would have understood that it is never too late with God. If he had realized this, he would have understood that there is victory in Jesus: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)
I wish this were the end of the story. Please join us on Monday for God’s Armament, Part 13.
(To access the entire “God’s Armament” mini-series, please click here.)