Blind to My Addiction
John 8:32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Anyone who has worked with addicts is familiar with denial. Everyone who has been addicted to a defective behavior, at one time or another, has insisted that he or she does not have a problem. I am not an addict!
As I read this passage yesterday, I recalled my own denial and how it required brutal honesty to start down the road of recovery. I could never be free of my addiction until I accepted this truth: I was a mess and I desperately needed God.
I set out yesterday on my bike ride to contemplate this truth and to work on today’s blog in my head. In the first five minutes of my ride, I was buzzed by a car, which angered me greatly. I spent the next 30 minutes of my ride seething at that driver, fantasizing about what I would say if I could catch up to him.
My bike or run time is usually my meditating time, but in my anger, I allowed that one person to turn my eyes from God to me and my anger. When I got home, I was still mad. I yelled at the dog and I was short with my wife. I surrendered control and I allowed my focus to turn from God to me, my and mine.
When I finally calmed down, I realized that Jesus’ truth was not just something I needed in the throes of my drug addiction. I need the truth continually. The truth is this: I always need God. As I am never going to be free of the defects of me, I continually need to turn my gaze from self to him.
Three times in the preceding verses, Jesus told the Pharisees they would die in their sin. Offending their sensibilities, He insisted they were slaves to their sin. The Pharisees objected, We have never been enslaved to anyone (v 33). Like the one in denial of his addiction, the Pharisees could not accept the truth that they were addicted to self and in need of Christ. Blind to their own slavery, they could not see their need for God. Jesus, we need neither you nor your God.
How many of us have been there, refusing to see our own defect? In our self-imposed blindness, we cannot see our own slavery, addiction or need for God. We may see that we once needed God. We have asked Jesus into our hearts, we have accepted the truth, and we are now free, right? We see God as something we turned to in the past and not as something we need constantly. We thus, return to blindness and slavery
Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin (v 34). This is not just referring to those who do not know God. This is for me now. If I am addicted to self, I am enslaved whether I know God or not. I may have chosen the truth once but this does not mean I am unable to return to my defect of pornography, anger, greed, pride, resentment, need for affirmation, food or drugs.
The truth that sets me free is that I need God continually. I do not gain and lose my salvation continually but I do need to be set free from the defect and destruction of me continually. It is only in accepting this truth and turning to God that I am daily delivered from my defects.