Getting Ready To Feed The Pets
We went back and forth.
- Toe to toe.
- Face to face.
- Mano a mano.
Both of us making our points.
I wondered the entire thirty-five minutes how this conversation would end? Would anything worthwhile be decided?
I had prepared the radio studio for my shift. I had my insulated Starbucks cup filled and sitting on the counter at my left. My shift outline, along with a few reference materials, were on the counter at my right. The shift had begun and I played songs and made Christian radio comments.
About an hour and a half into my shift the red phone light flashed. I pushed the button and sent the call to my headphones.
Choosing The Food
“I can’t believe I did it again,” he said
“Did what again?”
“I promised myself this was over. ”
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“Slipping and falling.”
“And that specifically means what?
“Pornography,” he admitted.
“What happened?” He spent two minutes and forty-five seconds telling me his story of slipping. At the same time I watched the countdown clock tick off the seconds until I needed to do something (talk, play another piece of music, air a commercial) to prevent any dead air, which is a radio no-no.
When he took a breath I inserted, “So you feel bad?”
“I feel terrible.”
Which Dog Gets More?
“Do you have any plans for changing your behavior?” I asked.
“None I haven’t already tried. I’m thinking I should just give up trying … I’m not really hurting anyone anyway … these women aren’t really real.”
“Well I mean they exist somewhere, but they don’t physically exist where I am … they’re just pictures and videos.”
“And so you feel like stopping pornography doesn’t matter because no one is getting hurt?”
“I guess so.”
“It seems like it’s hurting you. Isn’t that why you called?”
“Yes, but (and he launched into another description of his behavior. Slips test our resolve. I was thinking this is true with anything that is slowly destroying someone. Overeating, lying, or in this case sexual betrayal.
“Let me ask you, are you married?”
“What difference does that make?”
Your Favorite Pet
“Well, if you’re married this is infidelity, right?”
“Um … no. Like I said, these women aren’t real … they’re just make-believe … fantasies.”
“Then, you don’t really need them do you?”
“I never thought about that.” He said.
“I think you called me because you’re looking for someone to slap your hand and tell you you’ve been a bad boy.” I reached up and touched the middle monitor and sent a 60-second announcement into our broadcast world.
“No … I …”
“But I’m not your mama or daddy. I have no authority over what you decide to …”
“I know that …”
“And you’re not a little boy. You’re responsible and accountable for your slips.”
“Well, I’ve …”
It’s An Old Story
“Been cheating. It’s the old story of two dogs.” I said.
“Inside each of us are two dogs fighting.”
“They’re trying to kill each other. One or the other will win because one is strong and the other is weak.” The spot was finished and I segued into another musical selection.
“One dog is strong, the other is weak. It’s like this because you’re feeding one dog more than the other dog. Do you understand?”
“I’ve been messing up, huh?”
How To Quit Feeding The Bad Dog
“The thing is you can change,” I said.
“Every time the temptation comes recognize it as an opportunity.”
“To watch God work in your situation and give you a way to feed one dog and starve the other.”
“Yeah, I think maybe you’re right.”
I fired the top of the hour station I.D. and played a current top ten song to lead off the new hour. I said, “Stop disrespecting yourself. Stop disrespecting your wife. Stop disrespecting God. Your next temptation to slip is a chance to do the right thing. Does that make sense?”
I waited a few seconds, but he didn’t answer me. He’d already hung up.
Slipping can end. It’s a chance to start anew. Growing and maturing in Christ is never a give-up or give-in activity.
I switched off the phone and took a sip of coffee. The night was still young. What happens next?
Bad habits have a habit of making us uncomfortable (if we’re lucky).
It doesn’t matter what the bad habit is.
Undoubtedly, you can name something that needs to change in your life.
The bad habit temptation isn’t going to get weaker until you stop feeding it.
Okay, slips happen. But the truth is, every time the temptation comes it’s an opportunity to quit feeding the bad dog.
Your choice. You decide. Ask: “What am I going to do?”
You gotta wanna stop feeding the dog that’s stealing, killing, and destroying you.
Like someone wise said, luck is preparation meeting opportunity.