You might want to see sin as anything that turns us away from love—love for ourselves, love for another, and love of God. Dr. Gerald May in his best-selling book Addictions and Grace says,
“Addiction attaches desire, bonds and enslaves the energy of desire to certain specific behaviors, things, or people. These objects of attachment then become preoccupations and obsessions; they come to rule our lives…Addiction is the most powerful psychic enemy of humanity’s desire for God.”
What is amazing about addictions is that everyone suffers from some form of them. The same processes that are responsible for addiction to alcohol and narcotics are also responsible for addiction to ideas, work, relationships, power, moods, fantasies and all kinds of things. In Christian terms, and addiction is a false idol. It gets in our way of putting God first. It is the antipathy of love.
I cannot discuss in detail all the nuances of addictions, but I can point out that grace is the answer. What we all come to, if we desire not to be controlled by addiction, is that our own willpower never seems to be enough and then we become depressed. Since my thesis is that everyone is addicted to something and that our own willpower is not enough, we begin to see that God has an answer in grace. It humbles us to submit to the almighty for help and support and answers.
All of us want to be masters of our destiny. And that means we are tempted to substitute God’s will for our own. Addiction sucks up all of our energy so that we have little left for those we love and God. The addiction becomes our true desire which I would have to name a counterfeit of religion.
If we are liberated from these false idols, we experience liberation of desire, an enhancement of passion, the freedom to love with all one’s being, and a willingness to experience pain that such love sometimes brings.
We need at some point to experience failure with these addictions. They will never satisfy and they are always temporary so that the addiction grows with the desire for that false high or happiness. I think that only when you can face the failure of your ways that you can honestly and completely turn to grace.
“Grace is the dynamic outpouring of God’s loving nature that flows into and through creation in an endless self-offering of healing, love, illumination, and reconciliation,” says May.
See, grace is a free gift from God and God is always seeking to give us grace but our hands are too full to receive it. Our hearts, minds and attention are clogged with addictions. Remember, it is not the objects that are the blame but our clinging to those objects and becoming obsessed with them.
My point in writing this and the past two blogs was to open your eyes to addictions, but also the bitterness and anger that is the result of these addictions. We have a heavenly father who loves us so much that He has given us the cure and the answers to our issues. He loves us so much that He does not want us to suffer this false sense of purpose or love. He is the object of all love and He is the answer to all desire.
I help people create dynamic Legacy Plans for their families. It is time to see ourselves in the mirror and see if we are projecting a false God to our children, maybe even without knowing it. You can be a devoted church-goer and have a love for the Lord and yet these virtues are clouded by the example of our attachments. I plead with anyone that reads this to look at yourself and admit that there may be an addiction that not only replaces the love of God, but all the relationships in your life. Addictions can be, and often is, the one thing that brings us to our knees.
God says to us, “My grace is all you need; my power finds its full strength in weakness.”
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