Addicts

Romans 7

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[d] a slave to the law of sin.

I wonder what is it like to be an addict.  To watch your life be controlled by something almost outside of yourself, like another person.  Yet, this thing seems so much like you that at times it feels like the real you.  I wonder what would it feel like to actually know that something is wrong with you but feel powerless to change.  It must hurt to have people look at you but not with concern and compassion but pure disdain. Having people judge you from their glass houses on the hill.  And you think to yourself; “I once thought my home was higher than the floors of life.”  To be an addict and know it, like most true addicts are aware of must hurt to seeing yourself this way.  It’s like the only words you know are “I’m sorry” and “forgive me”.

What makes it worse is that even going to church doesn’t help at times.  They sit you in the back but not too close to the ushers. At prayer time, you make your way to the front you see the crowd part like the Red Sea.  Once you are there, they hold your hand with limp and weak grips as if you are contiguous.  People get real busy and can’t talk after church when they see you coming.  I guess an addict feels very alone and forced to fellowship in the wrong circles.  Only other addicts make you feel expected.  You are forced to stay in your place of bondage sometimes.
The painful suggestions of family members always reminding you of who you use to be.  They look at you as if you are weak and not trying hard enough.  They constantly bring up your old job, old house, old friends who are doing well or your kids.  They do it as if you don’t understand how things are affecting them.   No one knows that the addiction has gone from wanting to feel good to numbing the pain. Everyone seems to know your problem but no one comes around .  Everyone seems to know what your going through but no real hugs.  Everyone seems to be praying for you but offer you no Jesus. Everyone tells you that they are there but give no help only offer as they walk away.
To do the things you do not want to do and to not do the things that you want to do.  To know that this life is not what you were created to live but powerless to change it.  To try on your own over and over again only to fail.  When people tell you to speak at the demons with a powerless heart it hurts. They say you have no will power after you go a few months clean only to fail again.  To be written off as a failure and having people see you as a burden.  They say these things as they prepare for bible study, small group, choir practice, Sunday school and worship service.
I guess it would cause you to desire God, to hope for the days when Christ walked the earth.  To be rejected and despised you would hope for a change but not just a external change.  You would hope for the day of a deep cleansing that would make you whole again.  You would hope to see your family but not for their acceptance but to love them fulling again.  Even though you know of their shortcomings, you would love them as if they are as perfect as they think they are.  You would have a hope burning in you that would ignite everything around you.  To be forgiven and made clean becomes the greatest treasure to you that you have ever possessed.  You would do anything to possess that.  In the very pit of your addiction, you would pray for this hope and long for this Jesus to walk again. At this point your heart is putty, its mold-able clay sitting on the potters table.  To be this type of addict, who is aware of their addiction has something that seems foreign and desirable but yet undesirable to us.  When this addict finally possesses Jesus they return where they were and transforms the lives of others seeking hope.  They impact the wilderness of their addiction and will lead some out.  When we see them at the outer camp of church we turn our noses up.  We try to be loving to them but first we have to change them.  We have to put out their fire and change their appearance.  We call it discipleship but what it really is, is a makeover in our image.
We hate their boldness and zeal, deciding to use them as projects to make them like us.  We can’t understand their attitudes and desires.  We don’t understand their deep and true love of Jesus.  We see it as an act because none of us who are “really saved” behaves like that without special reasons.  Because of this I believe that the greatest road block to living abundantly, living in the will of God and living purposely for the glory of God is our denial of sin.  Unlike the addict, we are an addict in denial as we don’t see a problem that needs fixing.  We don’t see how we are the same as them.  We haven’t hurt our families, have we? We don’t steal, lie, cheat on our spouses, we don’t disrespect parents, we are not envious, we don’t covet, we don’t dishonor God’s name, we don’t worship idols, we do love God right? We don’t make images of God to wear or pray to do we? We don’t kill or destroy each other,   We don’t do anything of those things with an addictive behavior, we don’t do drugs, become drunk with alcohol, abuse sex, gamble, and all of the other addictions to cope with our shortcomings.  We have never lied about ourselves or cheated on our spouses to feel better about ourselves.  We are not addicted to material things to the point of abusing sex to get our idols.  Our issues are respectable and accepted as normal because normal people in this world do these things.  Our world accepts such refined sins as selfishness, pride, impatience, critical attitudes, judgmental spirits, self-reliance, self-assertiveness, selfish ambition, and all of the qualities we look up to in our celebrity idols.  Honestly, we are the addicts left behind to wonder in our wilderness hindered from worshiping God in spirit and in truth because we only allow God to forgive us of little.  We hold the sins we love to ourselves holding onto cheap grace to justify sinful living.
We can’t relate to God nor to those who place their hope in Jesus.  To us the Gospel is something for the poor and we are right.  The Gospel is for the poor in spirit, the meek, the hunger, the merciful, the peacemakers, the persecuted and those who mourn.  The self made man will never understand nor see God.  The self made, self-righteous believe they don’t have  a lot of things to be forgiven of, so their love is little.  They are ashamed of being an addict and will never seek help for their addictions.
Luke 7
40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he [ad]replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred [ae]denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say [af]to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
How long we will all just sit in church refusing to own up to our addictions.  How long will it take for us to realize that the minister really is talking to you too and not just the people in the back.  The people who just got to church because they was out all night, the young women who just finished stripping at the club, the drug addicts just now coming down off their high, the drug dealer and the gang banger and the man in the suit and the woman wearing the hat all need the same amount of grace.  We all have a reason to love much, when we see that we will live like that.  When we live like that, God will be glorified in our living and our living will be blessed like that.
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6 Responses to “Addicts”
  1. Thank God for my parents seeing to it I had a Christian foundation early in my life, for it was what I used when I suffered from a crack cocaine addiction in my 30’s through my 40’s. Now, in my 50’s I am able to share with others how God cured/healed my addiction. Thank you for your words and hopefully others, too, can be saved before it is too late.

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    • anointedplace says:

      I thank God for you and I praise the Lord Jesus Christ as he is using your suffering to minister to others. I lost a cousin to the very same addiction. I could see the need of hope in his eyes. I thank God for you, may His grace be with you always.

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      • I’m so sorry to hear of your cousin. How many other cousins have been lost to the insidiousness of addiction? Untold many, but if I can just reach one, then my life and pain I went through would have mattered. All things work together… Thank you, too, Anointedplace for your willingness to share with me and others. There certainly is enough work for everyone who wishes to participate.

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