Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Chapter 6

After a successful confrontation, you have separated someone from their object of worship. You now need to respect, listen, invite. Most people see AA as a place where you can be honest with tough-minded but fair and caring and understanding people. Most people do not see the church thus.

 In examining ourselves, there are some questions we should ask.

  • Do I realize my addiction is sin?
  • What do I really desire, Christ or my addiction?
  • Am I emphasizing both voluntary and slavery?
  • Am I being more defined by past addiction than by the blood of Christ?
  • Do I stand in judgement of the church because I see them as naive about addiction?
  • Do I come to church to educate it or because I need to worship God with others? Do I need the ministry of others even as they need me?
  • Am I fellowshipping with and accountable to other Christians?
  • Am I keeping in mind the major goal of glorifying God?

The church has been weak at welcoming addicts and communicating that God is real and present and is glad to see them and can help. Hopefully, it will mature and become known as a place of compassion.

Welcome:” many addicts don’t feel welcome anywhere. They ought to be welcomed at church with an attitude that we are fellow addicts.

There are two important elements of a person’s story: What comes at them, and what comes out of them.

What comes at them: It is a paradox to say to someone “You are responsible” as well as “You are a victim.” Yet both elements have truth. Listen and care about the things that have come at them and hurt them (abuse, broken family, relationships, injustices). They need someone to listen and care.

What comes out of them: Our hearts always worship something. Here are some revealing questions:

  • What do you truly want?
  • What is your purose in life?
  • What or whom do you really love?
  • When do you get the most depressed and sad?
  • When do you get hopeless (the person is not getting what s/he desires)
  • What do you get most excited about? What brings you greatest pleasure?
  • What is your dream?
  • How would you like to be remembered?
  • What do you especially want to avoid?

The addictive behavior is a real problem, but it is also a symptom of other problems. Ultimately, our sin is against God. Just seeking God’s will isn’t enough. We are rebels. We need to turn back to God and surrender to him. We have been too committed to our own independance.

The first step to God making a change in your life is being saved. After that, addictions serve as God’s megaphone to get our attention. Now is the time to respond to God’s grace. Responding to an altar call is easy. Making a daily commitment to life for God and worship him is hard.

Build walls: we want to set boundaries to keep the addict away from addictive substances. The long-term goal is freedom from slavery. Prov 25:28 says the addict is a defenseless city, without walls.

Hope: in God’s forgiving grace, God’s love, God’s power. God gives hope. Addicts need hope.  1 Cor 10:13-14 says that God will not let us be overcome by temptation.

Practical theology for the addict: be honest. Admit you are dying to get high. Don’t give in to feeling unworthy of God’s love. We all are. We can’t do anything to earn God’s favor, only believe. Think about Scripture.

Practical theology for the helper: perservere and keep loving. Don’t let yourself be the only helper. Bring others in. Find particular passages of Scripture that might help the addict.

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