Yesterday a good friend of mine and I had an interesting discussion about the nature of addiction. Because of time constraints, we were unable to get very far with it but the subject stayed in my mind and here are some of my thoughts on it.
The current (and I don’t know how long it’s been current, possibly since Freud?) view is that the addict is a victim of various sources: society, poverty, his own brain function, etc. One popular theory is that it’s a disease, therefore a person is helpless. Often this happens because we want to excuse and explain a loved one’s bad choices, or even our own.
What does the Bible say?
From James 1 (Amplified Bible):
12. Blessed (happy, [c]to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.
13. Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one.
14. But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).
15. Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death.
16. Do not be misled, my beloved brethren.
Resistance to sin and temptation is rarely taught now, even in church. Now the popular approach is tolerance and non-judgementalism.
Whoa! Wait before reading further! There is no way I’m advocating self-righteousness or condemnation of sinners. I am a sinner saved by grace. As Jesus taught us to pray: forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12) I am in definite need of forgiveness so I must also forgive.
I need mercy, therefore I must be merciful. (Matthew 5:7)
But it is not merciful to pretend that sin is anything other than what it is. Redemption is very, very different from victimization. With redemption there’s a soul cleansing. But redemption had a high price for Jesus and our own forgiveness is conditional upon our acceptance of responsibility for our own actions.
Sin in an unpalatable idea in current theology. Modern society has tried to change the very concept of sin: now it’s making people victims of uncontrollable urges. Psychology has no cure for this, only endless treatment. That is enslavement, not mercy.
I believe that the philosophy that says addiction is due to brain malfunction is saying we are tempted of God. He made us, He made our brains. If the brain makes us sin, then aren’t we saying that it is really God’s fault?
Verse 14 says that we are drawn away by our own lust and enticed.
Temptation comes to every man (also vs. 14), man either gives in or resists.
It sounds compassionate to say that addiction is not the person’s fault, but I believe that it is not compassionate in the end. If we excuse behavior ( or make it no-fault) we are actually condemning people to have to live in it.
We have a choice to either obey God’s laws or not.
God knows that we are all weak and have a sin nature. That is why He sent His Son as a sacrifice for that sin.
1 John 1:8-10 (Amplified Bible)
8. If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].
9. If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].
10. If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].
The demise of personal responsibility has resulted in untold pain, agony and tragedy in modern life. Marriages end, probably millions of children grow up without fathers, mothers are selfish and put their themselves before their children, the innocent unborn are sacrificed to the god of convenience, families are destroyed by pornography, alcohol and drugs. And I don’t just mean hard drugs. How many boys and girls live in unstable homes due to marijuana?
How many children have been true victims of their parents’ abusive live-in boyfriends and girlfriends?
Those are just some of the aspects of living in the modern world that have become commonplace and accepted.
And all this because we hold no one to a standard anymore.
I’ve read that the most popularly known Bible verse is no longer John 3:16 (redemption), but is now “Judge not that ye be not judged.” Matthew 7:1
Of course we’re not supposed to judge and condemn our fellow man. But we are supposed to judge conduct.
We have abandoned even judging the simplest matters. I Corinthians 6:2
What results when there are no expectations or even a concept of right and wrong?
‘Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18