“He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.” (Psalm 107:14)
Why, if God says He has brought us out of darkness and broken our chains, do a lot of Believers still struggle with addiction?
Some addicts have spent years crying out to God and begging Him to release them and heal them from their addiction but nothing changes. They continue to live with the shame, guilt, embarrassment, hopelessness, despair and anger that addiction brings with it.
They pray and pray and yet they still drink, get drunk and have blackouts, they continue to comfort eat and then feel such disgust and dissatisfaction with their bodies they make themselves vomit, they continue to gamble and end up further and further in debt. They continue to take drugs and lose all sense of identity.
And then there are the addictions that are not so blatantly obvious.
An addiction to anger, to lying, to despair, to hopelessness, to worry, to jealousy, to being judgmental, to impatience, to pornography, to gossip…
The only way you will be set free from an addiction, other than a miraculous healing, is through confession, humility, and honesty. If you do not confess to God and another human being or beings that you have an addiction, if you do not seek help and if you are not honest, and that honesty involves extreme humility, you will continue to struggle and live a life of lies, shame, deceit and hopelessness.
It won’t matter how often or sincerely or desperately you pray – how can God (a Holy God) answer your prayers for healing and freedom from addiction, when your life is based on a lie?
In Leviticus 19:11 God clearly states “Do not lie”.
The majority of addicts are liars – we even lie to ourselves.
We lie about how much we drink, we lie about being bulimic, we lie about our gambling addiction, we lie about our addiction to pornography, we deny being a gossip or being quick to anger or being impatient…
Take worry for instance. God clearly says “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow” (Matt 6:34). And yet, how many of us just can’t stop worrying? Worry robs us of joy, affects our health causing ulcers, high blood pressure, loss of sleep. Worry slowly eats away at our lives.
Worry, just like any other addiction, causes a rift between us and God.
How can we trust and love God fully when our lives are overshadowed by worry?
How can we be witnesses of God’s healing and joy when we are habitually passing out drunk?
How can we reflect God’s love and peace to others when we are quick to lose our temper?
Addiction is ugly, dirty, shameful, guilt ridden, sorrowful, painful, heartbreaking…
The only way out is through confession, humility and honesty. Through faith that God’s love is enough. Through believing that God is the one who kept us from the pit of utter destruction, who has forgiven our sins.
“In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:17
Someone who has been freed from the chains that have held them bound is brave, beautiful and strong – they have been stripped of all pretenses, their souls laid bare, they have suffered.
They have immense character.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Khalil Gibran