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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2010

The Truth Shall Make You Free

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Drug addiction is one of the leading perils of our modern society. It has ruined many a life and has broken many a family, more than any other vice ever did. It is a terrible and merciless affliction that brings despair and misery not only to the drug addict himself, but also to his relatives and friends. Though there has been constant effort to eradicate this problem, yet more and more young people continue to fall into its lure and come under its bondage.

Over the years, many rehabilitation approaches have been considered and introduced for treating drug addicts. Though many of these physical, psychological and social methods of treatment and rehabilitation have helped in the initial stage of the recovery, they hardly bring about a true transformation of the drug addict. From our experience and observation of the drug rehabilitation issue, we are fully convinced that the biblical approach is incomparable in effecting a total recovery from addiction to drugs. We hope to provide our readers with the biblical understanding of the problem of drug addiction and how we can work towards its eradication.

Drug addiction is sin

Most of the contemporary rehabilitation programmes treat drug addiction as a sickness. Though drug addiction can lead to many medical problems which would require medical attention, the cause of the addiction is generally one’s lack of faith, or sin. In order to help the drug addict to fully overcome his addiction, he has to be told that the root problem of his addiction is his sin; and then lead him to Christ, the Saviour, and to the truth of His Word. By treating drug addiction as a sickness alone will not be sufficient.

The root cause of drug addiction is not sickness, but a sinful attitude that has never been checked. Why do we say that drug addiction is a sinful activity and must be dealt with as such?

Firstly, it is a result of sinful pursuits

In most cases, drug addiction begins as a result of pursuing sinful activities and ungodly friendships. Use of drugs begins with a desire to be accepted by worldly friends who themselves are drug abusers or drug pushers. The first encounter with drugs often begins in places of revelling and sinful pleasures such as nightclubs, discotheques and wild parties. While listening to worldly music created by musicians, who themselves are addicted to drugs, and dancing to its rhythm in places where the drug culture is promoted, many young people fall into the lure of drugs. At first, popping a pill may be viewed as ‘fun’ or ‘just to satisfy one’s curiosity’, but soon it will overpower the mind and body of the young reveller as he is led to try more potent drugs for more intensified pleasures.

The Scriptures teach us not to participate in such sinful activities, for they are contrary to a sanctified life. “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:2-3). In the list of sinful pleasures mentioned in this passage, the Apostle Peter includes wine drinking that leads to intoxication, which is essentially the same as drug addiction. Similarly, other Scripture portions also urge us to avoid revelling and intoxicants (cf. Galatians 5:21; Romans 13:13).

Secondly, addiction to intoxicants is a sin that God will judge

Intoxication is strongly prohibited in the Scriptures, as God will judge those who live a drunken life. Though the Bible does not use the same words for the modern intoxicants like liquors and drugs, it clearly speaks against those who allow themselves to be intoxicated. For instance, “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands” (Isaiah 5:11-12). “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat” (1 Corinthians 5:11). “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Thirdly, it leads to many more shameful deeds and crimes

Drug addiction is a compounded sin, for it leads to many other evil deeds. Drug addiction leads the addict to wicked and harmful friendships, stealing, fornication, robbery, violent crimes and many other sins. The addict becomes a slave, who has lost all his spiritual values and moral principles. Addiction leads him from one sin to another.

Foolish behaviour and activities abound in a man who lives under the power of intoxicating substances. In Proverbs, we read, “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things” (Proverbs 23:29-33).

Fourthly, it leads to the destruction of his mind and body

Self-destruction is an inevitable outcome if the drug addict persists in his ways. The Scriptures warn, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). “A thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard” (Proverbs 26:9). Some young people think that party drugs or club drugs are less dangerous than marijuana and heroine. However, it has been reported by researchers and government narcotic authorities that no club drug is benign. Research has shown that the use of club drugs can cause serious health problems and, in some cases, even death. Used in combination with alcohol, these drugs can be even more dangerous.

The addict destroys his body physically by the many health problems resulting from addiction and from the various bodily sins he commits as a result, e.g. sexual sins. It can also make one suicidal. A destructive attitude to one’s own body and mind is certainly a sin, for it is murderous. Self-murder is sin. “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17; Matthew 5:21; Mark 10:19; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).

Fifthly, it causes affliction to family members and friends

Drug addicts bring great shame and trouble to their families. They quarrel with members of the family over money. They steal and sell family belongings. They open the home to many dangers that their drug addict friends can inflict. The pain that drug addicts bring to their home is often indescribable.

They disrespect their parents, and become violently rebellious. They do not care for their spouses or for their children. They often make their families poor and distressed. Thus most drug addicts become destroyers of their families.

Finally, drug addicts has to be told that they are sinning against God and man

To deal with drug addiction merely as a sickness or emotional problem is not the biblical approach. Sin has to be dealt with as sin. A sinner has to be told of the need for repentance and salvation. When sin is rebuked and the sinner is guided to follow the Saviour, a full transformation can be expected. There is no sin that the Lord Jesus cannot forgive. No repentant sinner who trusts in the Lord will be turned away by Him. Even a drug addict, who confesses his sin of addiction and surrenders his life to Jesus Christ in faith, shall be delivered. In Gethsemane B-P Church itself, we have about 10 former drug addicts who have been totally delivered by the Lord.

Pastoral Exhortation