published Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Mohney: Little bad habits can grow into monsters

By Nell Mohney

Recently, I was invited to dinner in a friend's home to meet her house guests. They are from New York City, and the husband was a former police sergeant.

At our encouragement, he told a number of real-life stories that happened on his watch. One was similar to an experience described in James Moore's book, "Daddy, Is That Story True or Were You Just Preaching?"

The sergeant told of the high number of deaths from alcoholism in the Bowery each year. He told of a call that came into the police station on a Saturday night, but it was not unlike those that came every night of the week -- another inebriated person dying in the gutter. The emergency squad was sent to help, but it was too late. The dead man, Bill, was well known in the Bowery as the man who sold shoestrings to buy drinks.

At the morgue, they uncovered some unusual things about him. In addition to his identification papers, there was a Phi Beta Kappa key, a diploma showing his graduation from Harvard University and another paper indicating his perfect (4.0) academic record. The papers were dated 18 years earlier.

What happened during those 18 years? Nobody seemed to know for sure. The address on his papers was from an affluent section of the city, but no one came to check on him any longer. In fact, it was weeks before his body was claimed. The sergeant speculated the young man began to drink occasionally as a college student. Then, with his proclivity toward alcoholism, drink took over the man.

It occurred to me that, in all areas of life, little bad habits, unchecked, can take over a person. The key to a vibrant, balanced personality, I believe, is faith in God. For me, this is the Christian faith because it sets clear priorities and gives us power beyond our own.

Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly." It is a faith that enables us to nip the little bad habits in the bud and live with love, hope and balance.

Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. She may be reached at nellwmohney@comcast.net.

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