Drugs and God – How Can a Christian Help an Addict?
Drug abuse and the problem of mind-altering practices have been a problem since Biblical times. The practice of witchcraft – against which the Bible is most emphatically opposed – frequently involved the use of altered states of consciousness (often obtained through drug use). Drug abuse is not merely a physical problem, but a spiritual one as well. As such, Christians should feel a certain duty to help those afflicted. Not only this, but the Bible also condemns the kind of behavior which often results from substance abuse. For example, believers are exhorted to obey the laws of the land, to live a life ‘beyond reproach’, to live selflessly, and treat their neighbors with kindness and forgiveness no matter the sin. They are also taught to respect their lives and earthly bodies, and the Pauline letters condemn excessive drunkenness and alcoholism. Taken all together and viewed through the lens of drug use, these strictures indicate that we should not only try to avoid the pitfall of drug abuse ourselves, but should also treat those who have stumbled in this manner with the kindness and love which runs as a constant thread throughout the teachings of Christ. But how?
‘Rescuing’ someone with a drug problem is nearly impossible. True change has to come from within, it cannot be instilled from without. When turning to Jesus, one must do more than simply attend church and recite Scripture by rote. One must willingly open one’s heart and love Jesus from within. The same principle applies to those with substance abuse problems. They must want to be healed in order to be healed. It is thus frustrating for many who wish to help substance abusers, as those who are on a self-destruct cycle will continually thwart efforts to improve their situation. So what can you do?
Firstly, get rid of the idea that you can proactively ‘rescue’ a drug abuser. For more on why this will not work, try reading this article. Instead, let the sufferer know that they are valued, that they will be forgiven, and that a loving support network is waiting for them should they decide to get clean. Simply being there, offering unconditional forgiveness and believing in their power to improve their lives can encourage many a suffering substance abuser to take steps to address their issues. Prayer can be a major help in this case – not only to help the afflicted individual, but to give you the strength to cope in what can often be a trying situation. Finally, have faith!
By Laura Chapman
Posted on February 12, 2016, in Biblical Insights into Combating Addiction and tagged addict, drug abuse, drugs, Drugs and God. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
As a Christian, and one with a lot of experience loving and caring for drug users, I have found that they already know they should not be doing it. Their shame is already real and powerful, even when they are in the midst of their greatest defiance against Truth. There is, in my experience, always a deeper pain than the pain of the drugs themselves. That’s one reason I work with helping people recover, not just from drugs, but from the trauma, pain, and losses of their lives. When they find compassion and hope and healing on the deeper lever…and not just Christian law, they can find the hope and possibility to heal from their addictions. Yes, there is sin involved…no question, and the drug abuser is not just a victim, but how much more powerful to touch the heart when approaching them….they can’t function on the logic level anyway when they are in the throes of it all.
Dear Debbie Barker,
I am in agreement with you. Many people use drugs and/or alcohol to self-medicate away the pain they have suffered through abuse, rejection, loneliness or neglect. They do need compassion, hope and healing. God is the Father of Mercy and the God of All compassion. Jesus is the Great Physician. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter. Christians need to minister the truth in love and share the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. Inner healing and sanctification through repentance, prayer, and the Word of God will bring deliverance and freedom to those bound by addiction.