This is the second post in the Terrible “Perry”bles series.  This series stems from a Facebook post Perry Noble, former pastor of the megachurch Newspring, put out addressing some of the mistakes he identified that led to his personal issues.  The first “Perry”ble I posted about was choosing isolation over community.  When I first read Perry’s post I thought that these are some issues that a lot of men are also dealing with.

The second Terrible “Perry”ble is choosing a vice over your wife and kids.  Perry’s vice was alcohol.  He describes his journey into alcoholism as starting when he became discouraged about some marital issues and began to use alcohol to help him cope.  He explains that at first it was a couple of times a week but evolved into something that he had to have every night.

Your vice doesn’t have to be alcohol.  It could just as easily be gambling, porn, video games, or drugs.  It could also even be disguised in finding other places to spend your time rather than with your wife or kids.  It could be going out with friends to shoot pool, camping out at the sports bar, or being overly involved in a friend’s hobby.  Maybe it is something that seems innocent like coaching or leading scouts, but maybe the joy you get out of it is the relief of not being at home.

So, a vice is very much like bait on a fishing line.  You may be a little hungry for something or just bored and then something new pops into the water.  Maybe it has a pleasant aroma that floats by in the water.  Maybe it is flashy and exciting.  Maybe it has the right movements as it goes through the water.  It slowly gets your attention and you swim over and take a peek.  You get close by and see some bits of the bait hanging off and you nibble a little of it and it tastes good.  You nibble again and it is great.  You go back a third time and suddenly you are hooked.

It all seemed innocent until you realize that you chose a vice over your wife and kids.  You chose a vice over your responsibilities.  Perry says, “I justified this by saying I needed it to take the edge off, to help me relax, to help me deal with the pressure at home.  Honestly, I knew the entire time I was using it as an excuse to zone out at home, thus causing me to neglect my role as a husband and a father.”

I am not saying that you are wrong if you occasionally have a beer, play a video game with the kids occasionally, or if you are a coach on your kid’s team.  What I am saying is to evaluate how you are doing with the balance of those things.  Is it something that you must have?  Is it controlling you in any way?  Is it having a positive impact on your relationship with your wife and kids?

So, if you have placed a vice over your family how can you make a change?  Admitting that you have chosen something over your relationship with your family is the best place to start.  If the issue is something that has become a compulsion or addiction you may need help to fully get your vice under control.  Seek help with a counselor or program in your area to help address the issue you are having.

I am sure we all have vices of some sort that snare us in some ways from being the best man, husband, and father that we can be.  Evaluate how you are going to choose to invest your time, money, and heart.  Is it going to be on a selfish goal or to enrich the lives of those closest to you?  Your mistakes are going to come with consequences but you can start rebuilding those relationships today.