Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
“Frankenstein” author, Mary Shelley’s quote recently stopped me in my tracks:
No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.
You could insert the word “addiction” in place of “evil,” and you’d have a fitting portrait of the chaotic addict.
For whether or not we understand it, face it or change it, the happiness lure is synonymous with our own addiction-prone hearts. We have more in common with Dr. Frankenstein and his obsessions than is flattering to admit.
We are creatures of what we treasure in our hearts.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34
If we apply Shelley’s quote directly to our dear scientist, we see how he has viewed the creation of life in a laboratory as his happiness, as “the good he seeks.” This was his addiction. So consumed, he did bring to life a creation compiled of assembled cadavers. A little electricity and presto! We have our grotesque monster.
His frantic behavior is not far removed from us, in the grips of our own personal addictions.
Case in point: our unique “bottom” experiences. Just superimpose our own debauchery incidents.
How low did we go? How out of control were we? How much did we damage and lose, all because we were thoroughly convinced we had found our happiness, our much-sought after good?
This dovetails into our next truth…
We tend to believe what we feel.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… Proverbs 23:7
Dr. Frankenstein, perhaps, believed he was doing something “for the greater good” in his reanimated creation. Perhaps, he felt he could eradicate all pain, loss and death from life. That would be a good thing, right? And, many a commentary has explored how Dr. Frankenstein wanted to play God.
Hmmm… Playing God… It sounds a smidge familiar.
For, in scripture, someone else also wanted to play God…
But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God. And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:13-14
And we see what happened there…
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Isaiah 14:15
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! Isaiah 14:12
Yeah, so there’s that.
And we can resemble that same spirit whenever we go full throttle in rationalizing our addictions.
Perhaps we say things to ourselves like…
“I have to do this in order to function. People depend on me to get results.”
“This is what I have to do to survive the hell I’ve gone through.”
Saying these things, we, therefore, arrive at our next checkpoint…
Our hearts may not be as honest as we think them to be.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
Did Dr. Frankenstein ever stop, anywhere in the process, and examine his motives? Did he pray? Did he search the moral implications of his passionate work? Did he think about the consequences?
From the story, it appears he simply went full steam ahead, convinced he was on the right track. He believed he was on his way to greatness. Nothing could- or should- stop him.
He was not objective; there was no way he could be.
And he definitely wasn’t looking for someone to call him out on his outrageous plans.
Again, he made the mistake of seeing this “evil” as his harmless, even benevolent, happiness or good.
And, so do we, don’t we?
One theory asserts that addictions begin for one reason and continue for other reasons. But, in that process, we are never alerted as to when, exactly, that “change” happens for us. There is no Google alert to warn us how our curiosity, attempts at being social or meeting a perceived need now continue because we are in over our heads and need a coping device.
Ah, yes, coping. This brings us to the next dose of reality concerning our hearts and this so-called “pursuit of happiness…”
Each one of us comes from a heartbreaking backstory, which influences our choices.
The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy. Proverbs 14:10
We don’t know Dr. Frankenstein’s pain backstory, per se. Still, he appears to be driven by something. Somewhere, in his life, perhaps, an unmet need festered, creating the obsession for control and achievement. He, again, embodies Shelley’s quote.
“No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.”
There is no denying it, pain, likewise, motivates us, for better or for worse.
Many of us have experiences with abuse, loss, death and all kinds of tragic circumstances which shape us.
And, if we are not mindful, we can find ourselves driven to acquire some “consolation prize” with which to soothe ourselves.
We are convinced it is happiness, the good we certainly need to seek for our lives.
This often provides the ground floor for addiction to flourish. We believe our chosen happiness will eradicate, fix or soothe our heartbreak.
So, in this regard, Proverbs 14:10 not only illustrates the significance of our pain, but of our individual addictions as well. Each is as unique as a fingerprint. This unique significance prompts this necessity…
Each one of us needs to get searched.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24
We don’t know, to what extent, Dr. Frankenstein was warned. But come on, creating eternal life, manmade style? That had to ruffle a few feathers and wag a few tongues, decrying, “madness” and “blasphemy,” among other less-than-enthusiastic responses.
Concerning the classic story, we know the tragic result. He plunged into the endeavor, animating this grotesque being with no plan for what would happen beyond that creation. There was no commitment to take care of the creature. None. People freaked out, attempting to hurt and kill what they did not understand, his monster. Dr. Frankenstein never considered that human response. Our doctor, in the realm of personal accountability, responsibility and consequences, did not want to search or be searched.
His focus was on his definition of happiness, however harmful it may have been.
Again, kind of like us. Because most of us aren’t interested in this searching, this “moral inventory.”
Nope. Just feed the disease, the craving, the desire which assures us happiness is found here. It is the goodness we seek, period.
Yet, this willingness to be searched – and dealt with – cannot be avoided.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper. But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13
We must look at ourselves in truth. Not delusion, not rationalization, not deceit. Truth.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
Without that, the tragedy of Shelley’s story may well be ours.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:15
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth,” saith the Lord GOD. “wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Ezekiel 18:32
Cue the next truth…
Each one of us is subject to getting our minds blown and our desires fulfilled by the Most High God.
Dr. Frankenstein did not stop to consider the rewards which come from focusing on Divine direction.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
He wanted to take the credit for his accomplishment. In doing so, he missed an incredible opportunity.
Again, there was probably not much prayer, asking for wisdom in his choices.
Instead, he was convinced his way was the right way. And, in doing so, he short-changed his potential to do something astounding, had he been Spirit-led, not ego-led.
And isn’t that what we do when we reach for our addiction instead of the closeness with our Maker? Our Creator is a loving Father Who wishes to bless and enhance us, not curse and harm us.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Connection with Him, taking top priority within us, allows for a greater chance of that fulfillment.
Addiction’s faulty promise lies in its short-term gratification, in its counterfeit resemblance of spiritual communion. Nevertheless, its promise can be a tempting proposition; after all, our addictions are usually within our natural reach. The Most High God, to us, feels more remote.
Unlike our addictions, connection with our Creator requires faith. Faith is not an easy, materialized product. Its basis is that of uncertainty and trust, asking for us to go beyond our finite senses. Often, that is neither gratifying nor comforting.
Dr. Frankenstein may have believed if he abandoned his addiction of creating “life,” all would be hopelessly lost. He didn’t entertain there could be a better way, a higher way, apart from his original set course.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
Likewise, in our addiction-minded states, we become obsessed with everything we will lose if we forsake our addictions.
We don’t stop to think about what we will gain.
But we need to keep first things first. There is a reward for doing so.
But as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
We choose what we will believe about how our “Higher Power.” We choose whether or not we will believe the Divine to be better and more fulfilling than our addiction.
No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.”
Where are you and I in this statement?
Motives, definitions and choices are nothing to take lightly. We are on the spectrum of choosing and mistaking. Each of us is subject to our “happily ever after” good and what we believe that good will do for us.
Each one of us is capable of getting it wrong.
Only the Most High represents the actual good we seek. Let there be no mistaking that.
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.Psalm 34:8