If only there was a parable about the heroin addict. We all know someone, love someone, or may be that someone….who struggles with addiction. One in ten Americans are addicted to some form of substance abuse. That should cause us to take a sober look around us. What do we do? Do we wag pointed fingers and shun them, ignore the problem maybe it will go way, or give the poor guys a break and hand them a few bucks out our car window?
As cliche as it is sounds, we must ask …. What Would Jesus Do?
Drugs like we know them today aren’t mentioned in Scripture. Drunkenness is clearly identified as sin. But is that where Jesus would go? Zero in that what they are doing is sin and shame them?
Jesus The Biochemist And What We Need to Understand
Being God He would have known all of the biochemistry intricacies of addiction. He would not have needed the brain scans, blood test and rat studies to help us understand what exactly addiction is.
We’ve learned that some people are genetically more likely to become addicts and it isn’t simply about a lack of will power.
To explain this we need some illustrations. When 9/10 people use drugs or alcohol, it causes an effect in the brain similar to that of night light or lamp being plugged into the wall. It’s not that exhilarating, the person is able to take it or leave it.
On the other hand, the other 10% actually have inherited genes that allow for an escalated ramp up from recreation use, to dependence because upon even the first use their brains have almost a Christmas Vacation experience! Picture the whole house is instantaneously lit – the electric meter is vibrating off the wall. While the brain of the user demands MORE.
These people are born with lower levels of serotonin and beta-endorphins. These chemicals serve to reduce both physical and emotional pain and limit compulsive behavior. When these are lower the brain seems to almost overreact to produce more when it receives them …
Almost like receiving a random gift, in order to encourage the giver to do that again you reward them by making an over exaggerated fuss over how wonderful it is! This is exactly what the brain does
Jesus Would Go Where They Are
If God sought out the tax collectors and prostitutes why wouldn’t He go to the back alleys and recovery homes? Jesus would strategically place Himself where He knew they would be. He came for the sick. Let’s face it- the sickly addicted are not coming to our Sunday morning services. We must go to them.
If I know the heart of my beautiful Lord He would go to their home, step over the needles, empty cans and wine bottles, and offer them love, forgiveness, hope…
Every month I go to the can redemption center, where I meet people created in the image of God redeeming copious amounts of returnables. Their bottles representing their soul… Empty…. needing redemption. I pray as I wait in line.
Which one Lord?
I strike a conversation and I share the love of Jesus, that they were made in His image, the Truth that He alone can heal their pain….
Jesus Redeems Pain and Sin
Perhaps the only reason they started on this path was that nothing else numbed the pain.
Pain demands to be felt or it refuses to be felt at all
Life doesn’t always go the way we plan. Abuse, rejection, disappointments, divorce, death of loved ones, sickness …..all didn’t make it on any one of our bucket lists. Yet they’ve somehow made their ugly way into each of our buckets, regardless.
There is something that God does with our brokenness, all the hurt and pain that is simply miraculous. Like the shattered glass of a wine bottle, melted down to nothing and recreated into a beautiful new creation, He redeems all things, He makes all things new.
Addicts need to hear this Hope. They are valuable beyond their addictions, that their addictions do not define them.
Jesus Would Have Ask A Critical Question
Jesus would have asked addicts the same thing he asked the lame man, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6) People who want help, are at the bottom, ready to be crushed, broken down, die to self – REDEEMED.
Jesus’ own body was crushed taking on the punishment for every desperate fix and empty bottle. Past, Present and Future
Jesus loves the addict and the non addict alike. His love is not dependent on our actions. However in the Bible, we don’t see Jesus exerting much time or energy to heal them unless the answer to that question is YES. Addicts must want help.
This is what they call the gift of desperation.
Stop Killing Them
Friends of ours who work with very intimately with the homeless population in the heart of Dallas once asked us as very seriously to, “Stop killing their friends.” By giving them money, they are using it to buy drugs and alcohol, by doing this we are not helping, but only hurting them. That was quite the reality check for me.
Jesus would not have enabled an addiction. He would have had a perfect balance of Grace and Truth. We need to pray earnestly for that when dealing with addiction.
Jesus accepts the addict as they are, but loves them too much to leave them that way.
Surrender To The Highest Power
75% of addicts who find their “higher power” will in time re-laps. Jesus wants to become the deepest desire of our hearts. There are plenty of “higher powers” out there but none will last or offer the soul the healing and redemption and power of sin that Jesus can offer.
“Therefore God exalted Him [Jesus] to the highest place, and gave Him the name above all names.” (Phil. 2:9)
Here’s the Truth: There Ain’t No High Like The Most High!
“Stop getting drunk with wine, which leads to wild living, but keep on being filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)
Alcohol can make you funny, relaxed, silly, inappropriate, talkative and confident…In the same way that being filled with wine changes you because it controls your mind, when the Holy Spirit lives within you it has the similar but lasting effects on your personality. It can override your natural tendencies and make you behave and do things you normal wouldn’t – which in this case would be the ability to say NO and refrain from doing the things we know are killing us/sin. It is not by your own strength that the Christian does anything right or good…
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can‘t.” (Romans 7:18)
The power to resist evil and make the right choices comes from God alone.
Jesus would encourage addicts to be fully dependent on Him because He alone is fully dependable and able to heal and redeem their pain
Songs to PRAY
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