We are living in an age where overdoses are frightening our community leaders and rightly so. One fact from an article in the Washington Post article states: “Nationally, heroin overdose deaths have risen sharply, from 1,960 in 1999 to 10,574 in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Click on the link to that article to read it in full to better understand the epidemic we are experiencing.
Recently in Ohio, two adults passed out in their car after using opiates with a four year old boy in the backseat. The pictures tell a horrific story – more than words and facts could ever do. Having two persons 47 and over unconscious in the front seat of a car with a young boy strapped in his car seat helpless to do anything is scary and sad. What an accurate picture of addiction: irresponsible, reckless choices to get high despite any thought of the future consequences and the impact upon innocent bystanders like this 4 year old child. Proverbs 23:29-35 gives us an accurate picture of addiction and drunkenness, too:
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. 31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. 32 In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. 34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. 35 “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.”
The Bible never calls this problem an illness or a disease. The choice to use in the first place is the one to which each addict/idolater/drunkard is responsible to God for that choice. It is NOT compassionate to excuse someone’s responsibility to God by calling a problem a disease. That will not end well in eternity before the White Throne of judgment when that person faces God who will call them into account for every thought, word, and action. They cannot say to Him, their Creator, “I had a disease of addiction – I couldn’t help it!” God will hold them accountable just as He will every single person who has ever lived. Our obligation must be to tell people the truth and the truth of the Gospel because Jesus died for our sins. Pray for those enslaved to addiction to repent of their sins and turn to Christ alone for forgiveness and eternal life.
One final point from the article is a quote that says “a chemical dependency specialist at the Counseling Center of Columbiana County, said that heroin is a big problem in the county. She said that there are resources to help people struggling with substance abuse but that a big barrier is getting people to seek help.” How do you make someone get help? You can’t. You can’t change their heart desires. Only God can. Therefore, if the barrier is willingness, there is only one eternal answer to change someone’s desires from unwilling to willing for the glory of God – it is the power of the Holy Spirit and that power works in partnership with the Word of God that we Christians must share with hurting souls.
-Mark (striving to be faithful to the Word of God on the issue of idolatry – a.k.a. addiction)