The creation story from the first chapter of Genesis tells of God creating light out of the darkness. Light is a symbol of hope and of new life throughout scriptures. The Gospel of John proclaims,in John 1:5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. The foundation of our faith is with God’s victory over darkness. Darkness can be terrifying for those experiencing uncontrollable and unmanageable urges.
With God’s victory, love comes out of that darkness and this love gradually draws us back into the light of this world and it’s realities. For people experiencing a fixation on negative behavior, we can be instruments of God’s love by extending care, compassion and hope to those who are still in the grip of darkness and despair.
Unfortunately, in Matthew 16:21-23 we are told how easily, even a disciple of Christ can become the means of communication from demons. Peter hadn’t realizedthe purpose of Jesusministry as he spoke out, but, Jesus knowing Peter’s words, spoke to satan, who was influencing the disciple’s action. His verbal outburst was against God’s will that Jesus should suffer and die, and without recognizing it, Peter permitted himself to become a willing tool for satan!In v23 Jesus rebukes Satan, who is darkness.
When dealing with addictions, there may be demonic influences that cloud the inner “voices of reason” and try to convince you that wrong is right, and that evil is good and pleasurable. These are Satan’s dark angels at work. I have coined the phrase “The Addictive Mental Process” — that process of thinking is constantly with us. Some of today’s most respected theologians can help you better understand the dangers, but it is Jesus Christ that diagnoses and prescribes the correct action. The rest is up to each one of us, (free will) that will govern the behavior that follows. This is the only way that we might take back control of our thoughts.
There is a time coming, when these dark forces of reason will no longer be free to influence mankind as they can now. Those who are now facing adversity without understanding their destructive force. God is merciful and will not make them face these subtle but powerful influence again.
The solution today is to combat those influences by saturating our minds with the continuous presence of God’s Holy Spirit. Allowing Him to flow thou our hearts, renewing our relationship with God, through Bible study, prayer, meditation, occasional fasting, and of course, obedience to His commandments. Being in the spiritual presence of God and His Son Jesus Christ is the answer!It is our shield and the means to free our self of evil thoughts.
In Jesus’ parables image, the housewife finding her last coin, or the shepherd who risks losing his entire flock to find one lost sheep. How much stress is put upon them. Jesus’ parables set an example of how we care for a person and their families who are experiencing addiction. If we would allow them those spiritual influences would lead us away from our impulse to blame those who are struggling and to focus instead on acceptance and support. When we surround them with our love and care, everyone can celebrate a time of healing and recovery in the family of faith.
Depression and addictive behavior.
Follow John 4:7-30 as he tells us the story of the Samaritan woman. Jesus asks for water from an outcast woman – a woman who has had five husbands and is living with still another. Jesus, although He shouldn’t, boldly initiates the conversation with the woman at the well, knowing full well that the cultural taboos of a man speaking to a woman, or a Jew addressing a Samaritan is forbidden.
Jesus’ lengthy conversation centers around the theme ofliving water,which Jesus promises to the woman. Those of us struggling with addictions are often thought of as depressed, and struggling for a way out without revealing too much of our past. Jesus did not dwell on the Samaritan woman’s past, nor can those who are entrusted with recovery programs condemn an individual for their past deeds.
Rather,Jesus gave us an example of how the faith community can initiate a relationship with those struggling with these issues. Jesus clearly understood that all persons of faith, and especially those who are separated from their faith community for whatever reason, need to be offered a drink from the deep well ofliving waterso they may find the gift of new life.
You might ask where is God in all of this confusion? Psalm 88
If you have never experienced the devastation of serious mental issues, Psalm 88 is one place to begin. The Psalmist describes feelings of sadness, isolation, anger, abandonment, mistrust, spiritual emptiness and hopelessness. But sometimes it is precisely with physical and mental issues that we are most open to God. When we let go of our need to control and are truly open to God’s transforming grace, we find that the darkness surrounding us becomes a tool not to be doing or knowing something, but a time of being and unknowing. It is here that we discover the source of mystery that holds us and surrounds us even when we are not aware that the Holy Spirit is present.
Overcoming the stigma addiction and finding Hope is a simple process of obedience. In Micah 6:8 the major reason many of us do not get the treatment we need, is the stigma that surrounds these conditions. No one wants to be associated with us. Most fear comes from our lack of understanding. Faith leaders and congregations can and should learn of ways to be supportive and helpful to people who are struggling. The words of Micah remind us that the Lord requires usto act justly and to love mercy. This may require us to support social issues affecting addictions of all kinds. By offering loving mercy and including those struggling with addiction, in our prayers and in the life of our community, we will give hope to those who feel hopeless.