The world was shocked when the news broke: Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead at 46. Every major North American media outlet immediately elevated the breaking story to headline status. The winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor had died in his apartment. In less than twenty five years Philip Seymour Hoffman had appeared in more than fifty movies, winning multiple awards and numerous nominations. As the sad news broke, accolades and words of praise for, who the New York Times called “perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation,”(1) flooded social media and news channels.
July 23, 1967 – February 02, 2014
Those who knew Mr. Hoffman were well aware of his struggles with drugs and alcohol. Although he battled addictions for years, he managed to stay clean for twenty years. But on February 02, 2014 the world became painfully aware that he had succumbed to chemicals once again. Sparing the readers the details that have been so widely published, it’s enough to say that in his apartment police reportedly found 20 empty heroin envelopes, 20 used syringes and 50 more envelopes of heroin and many unused needles.
Just two weeks before Mr. Hoffman’s death, Washington Life publisher John Arundel met him at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The publisher didn’t recognize the dishevelled actor so he asked him what he did for a living. Philip Seymour Hoffman said: “I’m a heroin addict.” Period. Such honesty! No mention of his awards or his stellar acting career. No mention of his popularity. Just: “I’m a heroin addict.” (2)
He leaves behind to mourn his loss Mimi O’Donnell and their three children. Remember them in your prayers.
It’s never easy to be 100% honest about who we are. That’s why it’s surely a rare occasion when we are honest with ourselves and with others.
Entire Human Family – Without Exception
One of the most difficult things for any of us to do is to be honest about ourselves before the one and only Holy God. We live with our ‘inner’ sins: our envy, our suppressed anger, our lusts, ours lies, etc. Those closest to us see some of our ‘outer’ failures; acquaintances may know only a few of them and others may not be aware of any of them. But this fact every one of us knows: every single person commits sins and battles particular temptations. This reality marks and mars the entire human family.
Many live their lives trying to mask-over the darker side of their life; trying to compensate or offset this dark and troubling reality by multiple sincere attempts to be as good as possible. These efforts are applauded and appreciated by those who know us. But do these efforts to improve ourselves and control our impulses, change the reality of who we are at the core?
Ending the Admission with a Period
The most difficult thing for any of us to do is to admit, both to ourselves and to God, the truth about who we are. It’ hard to say: “I’m a sinner,” and leave it there. “I’m a sinner. Period.” When we do admit that we are sinners, so often we insert a coma or a semi-colon and add a qualifying statement such as: “…just like everyone else.” The late Philip Seymour Hoffman ended his sentence with a period. He didn’t talk about other addicts or mask his stark reality.
Spiritually, we will get nowhere with the Holy God, if we can’t be honest about who we are. He knows who we are but He requires honesty from our hearts. That moment of truth with God is called ‘repentance’. And Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will perish [spiritually].” Luke 13:5 NLT
Facing the reality is ugly. “I’m a sinner.” We often admit that we have sinned but have you ever wondered why you sin? Why do certain trees grow apples on them?
The Bible says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
God Hears and Rescues Honest Sinners
Once you face your spiritual reality, which will be an ugly reality, God will respond. God rescues sinners. God hears honest sinners who are ready to abandon their life of sin and cry out to Him, from their hearts, for salvation.
Three times in the Bible this statement of fact is made: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 God delights to save sinners. God specializes in transforming the lives of sinners and equips them with eternal life to enjoy now and forever. This wonderful life is found through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1John 5:11-13
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Do you have a very personal moment in your life when, before God, you faced who you really were? Have you cried out to God for salvation? Without this moment of reality and salvation, you can never be in God’s family or in God’s Heaven.