Summary: part of a series dealing with topics of struggle. This week was where to go for help with addictions. I use changing lanes in a car as an illustration for changing direction in life
I had something interesting happen this past Monday. Our family had gone to the Greenbrier mall for part of the day and we started to head home around 4:00. We got to a traffic light where we were going to turn right and there was one car in front of me. The light was red – and then we got a green arrow to turn right. The car in front of me didn’t move when the light changed so I gave my horn a small beep; not the long “I’m mad at you” beep, but the more polite short beep that we use to get someone’s attention or something.
After that, I waited for a few more seconds and the guy in front of me still didn’t move but then I realized the reason he wasn’t moving was because he was talking to the person in the car next to him. So, now I’m a little annoyed. So, I give the horn the longer “I’m annoyed with you, get moving” beep. And the guy opens his door and says something to me. So, I roll down my window and he says, “What’s your problem?” I’m like, “MY problem, what’s YOUR problem. The light is green and I want to go!” He says, “I’m talking!” And I say, “Well, then go to the parking lot if you want to talk, the road is for driving!” He says, “I’m going to sit here until I’m done.” I was floored!
Unfortunately for him, he was driving a city of Chesapeake truck – so I was able to give the city a call and report their “customer service” guy. But, I share that story because it is representative of an epidemic in our society – the epidemic of bad and rude drivers! How many of you would agree with me on this? Nearly universal agreement! It’s not hard to believe because we see it with our eyes – it’s everywhere.
But, this morning, I’m not going to be talking about the bad driving epidemic. Instead, I’m going to talk to you about another epidemic – one that is far less visible but is everywhere around us and the consequences of it are being felt everywhere. The problem takes many forms – and nearly every person in this room has been or is being affected by it. The epidemic I’m referring to is that of addictions.
Normally when you hear that you automatically think of drug and alcohol addictions and while that certainly is among the addictions most commonly referred to, there are recovery groups for just about every addiction or compulsive activity that you can think of. There are those addicted to prescription drugs, illegal drugs, there are eating disorders including overeating to anorexia and bulimia, there are sex addicts, and those who indulge in all kinds of compulsive behavior like gambling, and shopping etc.
While numbers are hard to verify – it is estimated that more than 20 million Americans are in a recovery group each week and there are more than 500,000 different recovery groups. If that’s true – then I wonder how many more aren’t in recovery groups that ought to be.
Today, what I want to do – in the broadest terms that I can, while still being helpful – is give you some biblical insight into what the Bible has to say about where you should turn for help with your addictions – no matter what they may be. For the purposes of the talk today – I want to give you a definition of addiction: An addiction is any pattern of behavior that you have developed to deal with your hurts in an unhealthy way. These patterns may become physically addictive as in alcohol dependency or prescription drug dependency or maybe they are psychologically addictive as in gambling or pornography.
But the bottom line is – right now you turn to this thing when you are feeling stressed, or lonely or depressed or angry. You pour yourself a drink, or you pop another pill or you run to your computer – it’s where you turn for temporary relief – and it’s unhealthy.
Remember what I talked about last week, and what the video showed us – everything in this world has been turned upside down because of sin. The hurts that we experience in life – whether physical pain or emotional pain– were not a part of God’s original design for us. They are the effects of the fall. So, it only stands to reason – that how we choose to deal with the hurts that we experience are also deeply affected by the Fall – by sin in the world. So, our objective today is to learn how we get out of these destructive patterns that we find ourselves in right now and turn this whole thing back on its feet.