The Addict’s Worst Enemy
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18
The worst enemy of the addict is probably the truth. Any active addict with a shred of a conscience must live in a fantasy world of his own making, simply so he can justify his toxic behavior to himself. My own addiction was no different. I lied to myself constantly to sooth my guilt. I’m not an addict abusing drugs – I’m a physician taking medication to help me sleep. I work hard and I deserve it. I function better when I sleep well, so it would be wrong not to take the pills. I’m not that bad. I can quit anytime I want.
Acknowledging the truth – that I had a horrible, self-destructive addiction – would have been too painful. So, I suppressed the truth with my lies. The problem is that living according to lies leads to disaster, which I discovered as I brought the wrath of God down upon myself. In my misery, I was forced to face the painful, awful truth – I was an addict and I needed help.
In today’s passage, Paul described the inevitable disaster of those who refuse to follow God. Living their own way, the unrighteous must deny the truth, constantly lying to themselves. In doing so, they follow those lies, eventually leading to painful, destructive consequences.
The problem is that when we’re caught up in the lies, we deny the truth so much and so often, that we come to believe our own deception. How do we break out of this? For the addict, we must daily pursue rigorous honesty and transparency. Just as dishonesty was an active way of living – lying, hiding, and sneaking – we now need to continually pursue honesty.
We first need to strive to be honest with God and ourselves. God, how am I being dishonest today? Show me my lies. Then, we need to work on our honesty and transparency with those around us. We may be frustrated that our loved ones don’t trust us, but we’ve earned this and so now, we must live in such a way that we don’t mind if anyone watches over our shoulder.
In our self-destruction, we suppressed the truth, making an enemy of it. In faith and recovery, we must do the opposite, daily abandoning our lies to pursue the truth.