Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Love and Addiction

i've been hard-pressed lately to share a new revelation that i believe is truth, but not widely accepted in most circles. i'm choosing to walk a finer line, and i pray that i'm not just infactuated with a controversial image. but i look at Jesus, and he was the most controversial man in history. so maybe i'm onto something.

yesterday i was walking downtown Simcoe, pondering things, and i noticed a woman running around proclaiming to random aquaintances (i assume) that she was snacking on a bag of chips. seems kooky, i know. don't worry, it gets better. she was holding a bag of spinach. "I tell myself it's chips" she said. obviously this lady was dealing with an addiction in a rather bizarre way. but it got me thinking: is this diversion actually beneficial? she's only deceiving herself to produce a better choice of craving. i think we often do this. but in the end, is it what we tell ourselves we're eating, or what our tongue tastes that we begin to crave? i would hope that it's the latter. but i doubt this is the case.

i've heard it said that when a person is thirsty, it is not water that they crave, but the nutrients in the water that our body needs. the body sends a signal to the brain, which translates to a container formula that is identifiable to the tongue, as well as edible. it makes sense, to think that what tastes good to the tongue is good for the body. God is responsible for that phenomenon. but chocolate tastes better than cabbage, c'mon!

now for the controversial bit...

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24) this is a complicated verse. challenging, provocative, and seemingly impossible. what does it mean to deny oneself? i'll start by explaining firstly what it isn't: it isn't denying reality. if i tell myself i'm moving forward, but really i'm stuck in the mud, i'm outright lying to myself. my actions tell me better, what i'm doing and what i'm not doing. sometimes i need a second opinion to see my error. secondly, it isn't antipathy. Brennan Manning coined the term "Imposter" to represent the inner struggle with sin. he says, "Hatred of the imposter is actually self-hatred. The imposter and I constitute one person." once we accept who we are, sin and all, we can accept Christ. once we love ourselves, we can love God. denying oneself means to take opposition toward fleshly desires... confused? how is this different than self-hatred as i described it? simple: love your enemies.

i think admitting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming an addiction. you can't change what you don't acknowledge. this is all cliche advice.

the second step is to surrender. accept your depravity and inability to correct your habit. John Kuypers says, "Whether it is smoking, over-eating, over-working, alcohol, dope, sex or gambling, your addiction is your biggest opportunity to develop your own compassion and trust in God to do His work and show His great love for you." God actually wants you to give up and let Him take over.

the third step is to turn away from sin. this is the "taking up the cross" bit. obviously this has a death connotation to it: dying to oneself. go and sin no more. Jesus retorted this to the worst of sinners.

the fourth step is to now remove the speck from your brother's eye (Luke 6:42) i think this verse also a much deeper meaning than it first appears. it holds the process of "removing a plank" as a prerequisite to discerning steps to be taken to help a brother. Jesus meant for us to undergo the admission, submission, compassion, and repression needed in order to conquer sin. and to tell others how to do it. there is a huge lesson to be learned here; unless you're willing to demonstrate all these to a fellow believer, you have no right to judge. and even then, Jesus said, "You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me." (John 8:15-17).

1 comment:

  1. Nicely put, sometimes Christian's have the tendency to think that they dont have problems just because they are Christians in the first place and personally, I think that is like putting yourself on the line.

    Its easy to kid ourselves but it is near impossible to kid Him.