Christians & Addiction & Our Attitude

What should a Christian’s response be to addiction or to an addict?

Over and over in the New Testament we see the correlation between God’s forgiveness toward us and our forgiveness toward our fellow man.

1 Corinthians 3:12-14  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

But when we talk about our addiction in addiction, who is really being wronged?  Is it really up to us to forgive when our brethren sin against God?

I say no.

I believe that when someone sins against God we should welcome their confession of sin and support them in their repentance.  And perhaps most importantly, we should remember that we are sinners too.

Just exactly how do we view our sins?  Not only are our sins not any better than someone else’s, but our struggles are different as well……Compare the Christian whose brain is literally chemically imbalanced and is suffering physical reactions to their addiction and who falls short to the Christian who commits a lazy sin, a sin of apathy.

When we scoff at an addict whose withdrawals from drugs are wrecking their body, who haven’t slept for days and have uncontrollable itching and paranoia, who deal with constant debilitating fatigue and nausea and headaches….When we scoff at that person who’s having to fight a spiritual battle for their soul while dealing with all of that…..  How ashamed should we be when we don’t assemble to edify our brethren because we’re just sleepy on a Sunday morning?

We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

When modern day Christians start acknowledging that their sins of greed and lust and anger and pride are every bit as damning as a heroin addict’s drug use….THEN we’ll start being able to relate to those drug addicts and start converting them.

We need to understand that addicts are facing an incredible struggle for their faith and what they need to see in us is God’s love and patience for them.

For those who haven’t been exposed to God’s word from childhood, it can be difficult to know what to expect from God.  But when a sinner (of any sort) meets a Christian he should know EXACTLY what to expect from God, because that sinner should see God in us.

So how would God react to a sinner?

For starters, He would send His son to live an innocent life and die on the cross so that sinner could live with Him forever in Heaven.

And since we’re not able to do that, we will just have to tell the story of Christ.

“Don’t do drugs”…”Stop smoking”…”Drunkenness is a sin”…All of those things may be great messages to preach.  But all of those messages have nothing to do with an addict’s salvation.  An addict needs to hear about Jesus and the cross.  And a love for Jesus and the sacrifice that He made will light a fire in that addict’s heart.  A fire that will burn out all of the idolatry and selfishness.  And when that idolatry and selfishness burn away, sin in that addict’s life will too.

Our message to the lost in the world should mirror our priorities.  And if your priorities are on fixing your life so that you’ll be “good enough” to “deserve salvation” before you turn to Christ….You’re doing it wrong.

And that wrong message is what will drive away those who are lost in a world of despair because of their addiction.