Before reading this, I just want to say people can be truly evil or sociopathic and drastic measures need to be taken to punish them to protect others from what can truly be seen as evil deeds. I am not justifying the acts of addicts. I am just explaining how I feel about how some of the once, loving people in the grasp of this affliction and exploring this problem as it relates to grace and redemption in true Christ-like love.
“It will kill you”, “please stop”, “if you loved me you would quit”. These can be the echoes that resound momentarily in the mind of an addict before indulging or often self-medicating their pain and despair. The escape from reality, the world and its pitfalls is what can entice and then then hook, that is if one is susceptible to addiction.
Obsession is very real once triggered in an true addict, a spark can create deathly flames that kill and destroy. The demanding need to satisfy the tedious soul-stealing of “fixing” what is broken can be ungodly torture when it seems the only option in acting as they is to get “more”.
For those that have this affliction, for the most part, the actions that come with this, are not inherently meant to be “evil” in nature. It becomes survival. To live without a drug is like living while you are sinking and losing your oxygen. The motivation is to escape from the abyss is to breathe in the life-saving air.
This does not give someone an excuse for committing offenses though, they are still accountable, but they can be forgiven and grace always offers a way out if it is sought.
Some in their abstinence choose the ultimate sacrifice. They know that life with and without their once life-giving necessity of living of day to day has become a relentless repetition of nightmares. This out, to them, may also seem like a they are handing over gift to those they’ve hurt. They feel the burden of their lives on others has also become a series of shameful exploits and deceptions. Simply, the world, to them, is better without their existence.
For those that feel this pain that they see as unforgivable only need to know the deeds of some of the men in the Bible, including Paul and King David.
After this development in feeling worthless, it is true that many addicts don’t realize how much they are loved and how much pain they would cause their family if they were gone. It is tragic when they feel they’ve committed so many shameful deeds that all is lost. It is true many of the often painful acts committed are very real, but one should never be discarded or unloved. Though one may be given “tough love” for many of the terrible problems they’ve caused. In my opinion, love should be conditional even if from afar.
But is it not “the junkies”, “the drunks”, and “the losers” that need redemption? Is this not what grace is all about? For a true believer, would these not be the ones Christ came for? Would he not be calling out to them? “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” – Luke 5:32.
In his ultimate wisdom, the lord understood the burdens and scars of these lost. His master plan was to carry those weary broken souls, as any who choose, to paradise with him as he did with the thief on the cross.
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” – Luke 23:42
Often though, we do miss the key word in Luke 5:32, as written, “repentance” (those who know they are sinners and need to repent) and even in the horrifying journey of an addict this is possible. It is impossible to know why some have this thorn and others do not
It seems to me, that often, it is those who survive a seemingly endless nightmare that are more susceptible to seeing an awe-inspiring sunrise. Sinners become Saints. This is the quest for true redemption. It is through a narrow tunnel of repentance and faith that all is washed clean. This impossible task of absolute forgiveness for humans can only be given by God in mercy.
Sadly, the words of “the righteous” become condemnation only. Like the Pharisees, the whole point of the redemption is also missing and that can be blamed on many who claim to be “Christians”. They shine in the day, but are devils in the dark. The hypocrites that find one sin, likely, more “unforgivable” than another are often deceived in my opinion. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” – Mathew 7:3
Surely the consequences may be more apparent, deathly, and heartbreaking for the addict, but the sin is the same. I believe one should always come in love and altruism for those who have been beaten over the head that they are just “bad” or “weak”. The replacement for grace is often condemnation and “fire and brimstone”, the threats of burning in hell. The word “redemption” is what I believe, should be expressed among “Christians”.
People, in my opinion, should rethink their outlook if they only judge with contempt and arrogance the addicts. We never know the pain and shame people feel and hide and it is with love and mercy that one should be approached. If a “Christian” is to act in truly love driven deeds, the pain and suffering of one can possibly be alleviated if actually approached about escape from addiction. Grace, redemption, and rebirth can first be shown and then given as an addicts way out, this can be a cleansing and life changing event.
To conclude, I am flawed, I am a sinner, I have hurt people, and done the wrong thing many times, but I do believe I can be forgiven. I believe that through compassion and Christ-driven acts, a door can be opened for those in the grips of addiction. When one finds that they can be freed, the miracle of a new life can be possible. Non-addicts should try and love as Christ loved. They can pass on a message that a miracle is very real and their pain and suffering can be alleviated if sought. John Bradford stated “There but for the grace of God, goes I “, in reference to a group of prisoners being led to execution. All can be redeemed.