No Easy Way Out
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
When I first considered that my addiction may be a disease, I was simultaneously attracted and repulsed by the concept. Part of me liked the idea that I couldn’t be blamed for having a disease but another part of me knew that I was simply trying to avoid responsibility.
This is the objection that many have to the disease model – that it absolves the addict of liability for the hurt he’s caused. Those wounded by the addict’s behavior find it more than a little convenient when he suddenly claims that he’s the victim of a disease.
Personally, I do embrace the disease model, but I completely reject the idea that this means I bear no responsibility for my behavior. When I first had the impulse to use pain medications, I made a voluntary choice to do so. After a few uses, my mind began to remodel in response to the reward, and soon, my behavior became compulsive. In this condition, it certainly felt like I had no choice in using.
It wasn’t until I was addicted, that I cried out to God. I turned to passages like today’s, telling God that he promised to help me. When he didn’t provide the effortless way out that I demanded, I was bitter. You promised you’d help! He did of course, provide a way out – treatment, confession, and radical life change. I didn’t want that answer though. I just wanted the easy way out.
The deeper I dive into a behavior, the harder it is to get out. When I’m first tempted, I may simply walk away. I’ve never tried methamphetamine and so, if it was offered to me, it would be easy to say no. If, however, I used it repeatedly, I’d be in so deep that stopping would require radical, painful transformation.
This is why so many of struggle with change. It may not involve drugs, but we’ve all got some behavior that we’ve repeated enough that it seems we no longer have any choice. We may read today’s passage and feel God’s promise is empty. It isn’t. We always have a choice and a way out. We often just don’t like the solution that God requires.
Authors Note: You may have noticed that the blog has been down again for a few days. The website has had some significant security issues and the last few days, we’ve been undergoing some maintenance to prevent further attacks and interruptions. So, hopefully, no more downtime.