Psalm 82:4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
I want you to know something from the depths of my heart, please hear me as I share this. I want to remain positive and hopeful as I confront addiction; and I speak for all addicts when I say we need YOU!
Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
A few opening thoughts here:
- Sometimes, in the processing of life, especially with an addiction component that has been in operation for a long time, it is difficult to remain hopeful.
- When coming out of the addiction fog, learning to do things differently, establishing better practices and accountability, we can still find it hard to be positive.
- Even if we have a support base, transparency, and success of some sort in the rear-view mirror, it can yet be difficult to stay the course.
Why are all these things true you may ask? Well, I am not really sure, and certainly don’t have empirical evidence to back up my hypothesis. I have only my own experiences to sample. I can tell you it is extremely difficult to remain strong, and going in a positive direction through the long journey of recovery, and much of it is people related.
Deuteronomy 15:11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
As I have confronted addiction in my life, I have seen many, many people pull away, disassociate themselves, and outright consign me to oblivion. Its like I have a disease thats gonna jump on people so they run in terror, screaming like a little kid afraid of something under his bed at night. Comical really. Although a few, select people have remained supportive, the majority of those who consistently stand with you are those who are complete strangers; at least at first. Who are they? Fellow addicts who are in recovery of their own.
Ezekiel 22:29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
I would say that you would find it difficult to deny that people in your life are very important; that family and friends are in fact essential as you negotiate every day life. Those who struggle with addiction are no different.
There are two evaluations I commonly see when people separate themselves from an addict for religious reasons. I am speaking of the religious here because virtually everyone in my life is, as I have been primarily in that environment. I have witnessed these responses first-hand. (Please understand that there are those who tirelessly help, and churches who dedicate tremendous time and financial resources to help those in need.)
- You have a spiritual problem that you won’t deal with and submit to God.
Addicts (for the most part) do not like being addicted; though ensnared in a cycle of addictive behavior, the person realizes they are perishing daily. They aren’t in a place of peace, serenity, and joy over their lives. They hate addiction, and they despise what they have become. That right there shows a desire and willingness to change, and that is where it is tough to stay positive. When someone presumes to enter the mind of another in any circumstance and decide what their motivation or intent is, that is pure egomania. Please don’t assume the addict is an unrepentant sinner.
- You are beyond spiritual help (i.e. MY help)and therefore I must separate myself from you entirely so you don’t infect me.
The addict needs your help, not for you to turn your back on them. They need you to press in to them, to show the care and concern for them that you would show a stranger on the street. When you give up on them you are saying that their value to you isn’t enough to warrant your continued relationship or help. You have injected a so-called higher reasoning for your position but it still boils down to you just don’t care enough or are too busy. Why not insert your reason here:______________________________________________________!
To be sure, there are addicts who are unrepentant, and take advantage of people who help. But don’t let those who do this distract from the many who are truly trying and working hard. It can be difficult to spot the genuine ones because three steps forward and two steps back could be the motto of virtually every addict. It is in failure we learn, we grow, we achieve success. We are mortal beings who have made terrible choices when it comes to dealing with life. Hidden beneath addictions behavior is a wounded and needy soul grasping for solid hope.
Psalm 9:18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
The church can feel overmatched when it comes to the complexities that are in play when trying to help the addicted. That is what I have been told many times, by many people. But that isn’t a reason to walk away, condemn, distance, ridicule, judge, and ultimately fail the needy. It may seem like the effort can never match the challenge, that the churches resources and patience only stretch so far. But may I say that the addict doesn’t have that luxury, they cannot afford to give up so easily. Why? Because the alternative is certain death; physically, spiritually or both.
Isaiah 25:4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
Please don’t give up on the addicted. We desire freedom and covet being a complete person; we need your love, patience and support to achieve this high goal. Walk with us, please listen and try to understand, help us to see how we can be healed, and know that there is hope for us.
If you have a relative, friend, fellow-believer, co-worker or neighbor who is caught in addictions cold grasp, please just reach out and lend a hand. We cannot make it without YOU!