When will we all learn to erase the "us" vs. "them" from our conversations about addiction? Regularly, I hear conversations about people who are addicted and this tone creeps into the dialogue; a tone that says, "I'm glad that's not my problem." It's time to both reframe our understanding of the problem and then recast our responses to the issues.
Understanding the Problem
In her teaching series, "Clean Sober & Saved," Tracy Strawberry refers to passage of Scripture in Romans that points us to the root problem; a problem that exists not just in one class of people or one behavior of people, but something applicable to all of humanity.
14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:14-17 NLT - emphasis added)
The problem is the sin nature, and the sin nature is in all people. In one person it manifests itself in overeating. To another it becomes control and domination. To another it arises as uncontrollable anger. Others are gripped by fear. In others it shows itself to be sexually immoral. For others it manifests as greed or verbal abuse. The list goes on and on. For some, it manifests as substance abuse. The problem for all humanity is the sin nature. Sin causes pain and everyone chooses how to deal with the reality of their own pain ... some choose drugs and alcohol.
The second reason why addiction is everyone's issue is understanding the social effects that snowball from it. In nearly every town in our country where substance abuse is rampant you will find tapped financial resources, overworked and discouraged law enforcement, concerned health care workers, hurting families, and so much more. However, there is hope for all of these issues; issues that we all must share and for which we must all accept ownership.
Recasting our responses.
"God is not mad at you." (Tracy Strawberry) Jesus comes to help, not to harm. Jesus comes to set people free, not to condemn. Isn't the problem condemning enough already? God desires your healing and is ready to make you whole in a way you never thought possible. Are you ready and willing to participate in this process?
Since God is not mad at those who are affected by addiction, then why are some people so angry, and why are some who say they love God so angry? Responses of anger will never contribute to the true solution. Compassionate action is the key. Compassionate language and action will come from anyone who understands their own desperate need for God and has found hope in Him, then sees a sister or brother in need who is also loved by God, but trapped in their own troubles.
Addiction causes pain, but the missing PEACE is Christ Jesus.
Addiction is everyone's issue.
Sin is everyone's condition.
Compassionate Action is needed for all, in the name of Jesus.