John 2:7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
Though I engaged in horrible behavior in my addiction, I did and still do have a very active conscience. This conscience is quite sensitive to destructive behavior and makes me feel horribly guilty when I engage in such acts. How then, did I get ever get myself to the point where I could tolerate my addictive behavior?
The truth is, I simply wanted something badly enough that I had to figure out how to bypass my conscience. So, I made excuses. Excuses and justifications were the grease that allowed my mind to fit into spaces it never should have been able to fit. With my excuses, I could contort destructive behavior into something more palatable to my conscience.
I deserve a reward. I need to sleep. I’m a doctor, I know what I’m doing. It’s not a big deal. No one will ever know. I’ll stop tomorrow. Just this once and never again. This is the last time. God will forgive me. Jesus turned water into wine, so it cannot be a bad thing, right?
Just as I am taking this passage out of context (the water to wine story is not at all about excuses) I can take any truth and twist it to meet my needs, if it helps me justify my behavior.
I still find myself doing this. My ability to excuse my addictive behavior does not apply to drugs alone. When I want a donut, but know that I do not need one, the voice returns. I worked hard today. I deserve it. I’ll go for a run tonight. I’ll skip lunch. Just one and then I’ll eat broccoli forever…
This would be humorous if confined to just donuts perhaps, but I do this with all my destructive desires. When I want to gossip, I dress it up as concern. When I want to be prideful and judgmental about someone, I tell myself I have earned the right to condescend. When I want to be selfish with my time and money, I insist that I deserve what I have. I work hard. I earned this. They deserve what they are getting.
The truth is, I can talk myself into anything if I want it badly enough. When other people engage in addictive destructive behaviors, it is easy to see. What an idiot… When I do it though, my excuses blind me. It’s different when I do it. No one understands. I’m justified…
Jesus did, of course, turn water into wine. That however, is no justification for me to get drunk. I need to be honest about my destructive desires and I need to recognize my ability to make excuses. When I hear that voice trying to manipulate a behavior into something acceptable, I need to stop and kill it. As my destructive behavior begins in my mind, I need continually turn my mind to God.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.