112 Sins of the Brother
For the longest time, Zack had a drinking problem. He had struggled for years battling this demon and always losing. Zack's brother Alan had always been supportive of Zack during these trying times. Alan would always encourage Zack to stop drinking and pray with Zack for divine assistance to help him overcome his addiction.
Finally, Zack was able to give up drinking for good. On the six-month anniversary of Zack's sobriety, he called Alan over to celebrate with him by watching a basketball game at home and eating pizza together.
Zack and Alan had a good time hanging out together and watching the game. Alan went to Zack's refrigerator to get them some sodas. Alan froze when he saw a lone beer at the back of the refrigerator. "You're not drinking again, are you, bro?" Alan cautiously asked.
Zack peered into the refrigerator and saw the beer can. "What? No, Alan, I haven't been drinking. I must have missed that can when I cleaned out my refrigerator."
Zack took the beer can out as well as a can of soda. "Don't worry, man," assured Zack, "I'm still sober. Why don't you drink this beer to make sure I don't get tempted later? I will drink the soda."
Alan smiled. "Ok, as long as you didn't fall off the wagon, man. You've made such good progress, Zack. I don't normally drink, but I'll do it for you, bro."
Alan took the beer and drank it, while Zack drank the soda. They polished off the pizza and watched the rest of the game. After the game, Alan hugged Zack before he left for home. "Stay strong, Zack. I'm still praying for you."
An hour later, Zack received a frantic phone call from his father. "Zack, your brother got in a car accident and is in the hospital. You need to come now!"
Zack hung up the phone and rushed over to the hospital. His mind flashed back to the lone can of beer in the refrigerator and guilt flooded into him. Zack's heart started racing and several thoughts flashed through his mind. Why didn't I clean out the refrigerator? Why didn't I just have Alan pour the beer into the sink? What the hell was I thinking? Oh God, please don't let my brother die!
When Zack got to the hospital, his father and mother went up to him with tears in their eyes. They explained to him that Alan was hit by a speeding car that ran a red light. Apparently, Alan tried to swerve to avoid the car, but his reactions were not fast enough. Zack bit his lip as the image of the lone can of beer in the refrigerator came into view again.
Zack went into the room where Alan lay comatose on the hospital bed. Tears welled up in Zack's eyes as he sat down by his brother. Why Alan and not him? Alan did nothing wrong! Zack couldn't get rid that image of that lone can of beer. It was as if it was seared into his mind. Zack cried and started praying. Please God, don't let Alan die. Take my life instead, if you must. I am the one who sinned. I am the one who deserves to be on that bed. Lord, not my brother!
Zack stayed by his brother's side for days, constantly praying and asking for forgiveness from God and from his brother. He poured his heart out and confessed all his sins and asked Jesus to take them away. He begged God unceasingly to let Alan live.
After four days, Alan's eyes slowly opened. He turned his head slightly and looked at Zack.
"Oh thank God!" cried out Zack. "Alan, you're awake! I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry! This is all my fault! Please forgive me, brother! Oh praise God, you're awake!"
Alan smiled slightly and looked at his brother tenderly with loving eyes, but then Alan's eyes closed again. Alan's vitals began to flatline and doctors and nurses rushed into the room. Alan died.
Again, Zack saw the image of the lone can of beer clearly, as if to accuse him. His beloved brother Alan is dead and it was his fault. Zack's parents and friends tried to console Zack. They tried to tell him that it wasn't his fault, that it was only one can of beer, that Alan's blood alcohol level was within the legal limit, and the other driver was the one at fault for the accident. However, Zack was inconsolable.
When Zack went home, he sat and cried his heart out. After he finished crying, he looked up and saw that he still had some liquor in his cabinet. Zack just couldn't deal with his pain anymore and looking enticingly at the pristine, untouched liquor bottles. He opened the cabinet, grabbed one bottle and poured out a drink in a small glass. He nursed the glass and only thought of one thing: I just need to forget my pain.
The image of that lone can of beer consumed Zack's thoughts as he was about to drink. However, before Zack took that drink, he saw his Alan drinking that beer to protect him from temptation. He saw all the times Alan prayed with him and cried with him as he struggled with alcoholism. He saw how Alan rejoiced when he finally made the commitment to go sober.
Zack looked at the drink. Oh God, what am I thinking? Did Alan die for nothing?
Zack looked at the drink again with disgust and tossed it against the wall, shattering the glass and splattering the brown liquid. He took all the liquor bottles from the cabinet and tossed them in the garbage. He then went through his house and threw out anything with alcohol in it.
Zack was shocked to see how much alcohol he had left lying around. He tied up the trashbag and carried it outside to the local trashbin and threw it all away. Zack knelt down in prayer and prayed to God for forgiveness and for the strength to continue on sober, just like what Alan would have wanted.
- Recommended reading: Luke 9:62, Hebrews 6:6, Hebrews 10:26-27