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The 700 Club

Suicidal Man Can't Keep Ignoring Help

Julie Blim - 700 Club Producer

“I had let a lot of people down in my—I had disappointed a lot of people. I felt like I was –my life wasn’t worth living," Matthew admits.

At 48, Matthew was about to lose his business and his marriage. The bottle was his only comfort.  

“I was addicted,” he says.  “Every night, every weekend, every day.”

Matthew grew up with loving parents who had strict Christian beliefs. Both at home and at church, he learned that acceptance came by doing what was expected. That included giving his life to Jesus at 13.

“When you have a gentleman coming up to you and saying, ‘It’s time, son. You need to give your life to Christ.’ Well then, that’s what I did,” Matthew remembers.  

As a result, he never understood God’s love for him.

“I also felt like God was going to punish me," he says, “or I was going to be punished to Hell, you know, if I did this. And so I feared God.”

One place he did find acceptance was the playing field. A star athlete in middle and high school, Matthew had the respect and admiration of his teammates, coaches, and fans.

“I was on top of the world,” he says, smiling.  “I had my friends, I had these guys I’d grown up with. We were always together, practicing, playing. I was always a part of the team, I was the quarterback, I was a point guard, I was a pitcher. So I was at the center of focus there. And so I had a group of guys listen to me call the plays.”

He had hopes of playing college basketball … but after severely breaking his ankle in high school, he no longer had what it took to play at the higher level.

“Sports was my life. But when once that was gone, it was like my sense of worth was … completely lost without it. When I went to college, I didn’t have that. And so I was completely lost,” Matthew recalls.  “And so I ventured over to the crowd where the beer kegs were, you know, and they had the pretty girls. So I drank to fit in. It was more of a being accepted. I completely abandoned God. When my conscience left me, I felt liberated.”

Matthew dropped out of college after a year and spent the next four years working various jobs – including as a janitor. On the weekends, he partied.

“And it was just like I had no value,” he says.  “And at that time, having put God in the closet like I had, it wasn’t even a mere thought. I didn’t even think about, you know, getting on my knees and calling upon Him. I left Him; why did He love me at this point?”
 
Tired of his life going nowhere, Matthew returned to school and went on to became a chiropractor. He also married, and had children.

“I was on cloud nine. I went from this janitor, to this chiropractic physician. And I knew that I did it without God. My self-worth started building when I was able to help someone. And so having all this to come to fruition was a big boost to my ego. Nothing was going to bring me down,” he remembers.  

His practice flourished for years -- until the economy nosedived in 2008.

“You go from seeing 45-50 patients a day down to 15-20 – that hits the wallet hard,” Matthew explains.  “With that came drinking more. With that came marital problems.”

As heavy financial stress took its toll on his marriage, Matthew felt hurt and rejected. So he sought comfort in another woman - via social media and texting.

“My self-worth had increased a little bit just from her stroking my ego. I was still in a dark place. She was medicine I needed to heal some wounds,” he admits.   

When that relationship ended in a couple years, Matthew felt completely alone. One night in May, 2014, he was watching baseball while emptying a bottle of liquor. He’d reached the end of himself and knew just the person to blame.

“I was mad at God for letting my life get to the point to where I didn’t feel I had any worth at all and my life wasn’t worth living,” Matthew says.  “Just as clear as you hear my voice He says, ‘How I can help you when you continue to ignore Me?’ I recognized it was God, ‘cause he touched me in a way that I’d never been – I can’t even explain the feeling that came over me. “

He says he noticed a book on the table that seemed to glow. It was about people who had struggled in life and found God to be their answer. As he started reading, he discovered that all this time, God was there and truly loved him.

“Every pore in my body felt like tears were coming out.  It was as if I was being cleansed as I was reading this book,” he remembers.  “I immediately gave my life to Christ. ‘Forgive me of all of my sins, dear Lord.  I know that what I’ve been doing all these years is wrong. And I’m so thankful that you’ve chosen not to leave me … and I thought you had.’”

Matthew stopped drinking, and began going to church with a friend, where he felt like part of a team again.

“We were all working for the same purpose - Jesus Christ to be at the front and center of our lives.”

In time, his business picked up again. Though disappointed that his marriage ended, Matthew remains close to his four sons. He’s now able to see himself more as God does and wrote a book about his journey.

“He does love me. He never left me; I left Him. So I feel I’m a brand-new man."

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