Working With Addictions (4) Dealing With The Double Minded

Working With Addictions (4) Dealing With The Double Minded

This is Part 4 of a series I started some time ago on how to work with those with addictions. Parts I, II & III can be found by clicking on the number.
How many people do we know that have ‘original’ opinions on anything? The media have saturated our lives to such an extent that they largely drive public opinion and thought, almost at will. Every single person on a housing scheme will have a strong opinion on the issue of God. You won’t find too many people who are ambivalent, for that is a middle class disease. Every addict I come into contact with will have some deeply held presuppositions about Christianity, God, the Bible and the church (sometimes referred to as cultural defeaters). They do not come to me as blank sheets. Usually their view of God includes the following descriptions: angry, old, irrelevant, pointless, uncaring, scary and judgemental. Christians are viewed as a weird bunch who don’t do ‘sex or getting drunk’. Many, if not all, will feel like they’re too bad and too far gone to be saved. Normally, I will quote the following two passages from the Bible:
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:“I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,to revive the spirit of the lowly,  and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Is. 57:15)

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands,forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Ex. 34:6-7)

My point is that very often their view of God is almost certainly a wrong and unbalanced one. God is the God who comes to help the outcasts and the poor and the lowly and the rejected. God knows what our lives are like, He knows the suffering we have been through and are going through, and He is able to help us if we let Him. The problem for many addicts (and sinners in general) is that they have listened far too long to the voice of folly in their lives. Folly has told them that nobody can help them, nobody really understands them and it is not going to get any better. But, if we would only listen to the voice of wisdom. Wisdom is pointing us to the God of the Bible who says He does care about us, He does understand us and He can help us if we will let Him.

We must help addicts to realise that the Bible is no stranger to the struggles that they feel inside. Talk to them about the Apostle Paul, a great man and yet he often felt great despair in his life. Let them read for themselves the truth of  Romans 7:18-23

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Explain to them that Paul was a bad bloke in the Bible. He murdered Christians, he was the original ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ and he had them banged up. He stitched Christians up and yet he became one later in his life. This is what he wrote when he began to realise that God was actually more real than he had thought

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17)

The problem for the human race is that we are all double minded. We want to believe this stuff and yet we don’t really believe it at the same time. We want to believe there is some higher power out there that could help us but we also think that it is just a fairy tale at the same time. We want to admit to having a problem in our life and yet we don’t want to appear to be weak in front of people. So, we just pretend that everything is OK. But we do need to press addicts to start responding to this information they are receiving.

They need to admit their double mindedness. They need to admit when push comes to shove they like to hang around with old enemies. They like their drink, their pills, their unhelpful friends and their secret sins. They hate them and they love them at the same time. The most important and the most basic step on the road to recovery is help them to admit their double mindedness and to stop kidding themselves that they are 100% sold on changing their lives when they’re not.

We need to encourage them that none of this surprises the Lord. It is in the Bible after all! There is hope for addicts because the Bible offers us a way to deal with this problem in our lives. We need to challenge them about the necessity to be changed inside out and that won’t happen unless God gives them a complete overhaul. They think that their double mindedness is a sign that they’re not ready to change their lives. But, we must teach them that it is the sign that they must change their lives. We need to take them to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Part 5 to follow.