The Zombie Drug
They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they repented not of their works. Revelation 16:10
My son recently asked me about xylazine, the so-called Zombie Drug. Often added to the illicit fentanyl supply on the streets, it’s earned its nickname by causing tissue death which produces large, disfiguring infections and ulcers on those who inject it. My son’s inquiry was poignant – Why would anyone use that drug, knowing that it will cause your skin to rot? It’s a fair question, one that I could ask of any destructive drug. Why would anyone use methamphetamine, knowing the problems it’s caused for others? For that matter, why did I use opioids, knowing that my drug use could one day cause me to lose my job and my marriage?
It’s not like the opioid addict doesn’t know about xylazine. If you and I have seen it in the news, they certainly have. The addicted are usually street pharmacists, knowing a tremendous amount about their chemicals. So, the question remains – Why? This isn’t just a question for the addict with rotting skin from xylazine though. This is a question for all of us. Why do any of us engage in toxic behavior, knowing that it’s self-destructive? We’ve read the studies linking screen time to depression and anxiety, yet we sit on our phones all day. We know the consequences of a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, but we still sit on our couch eating chips. We understand that pornography is hurtful to our marriage, yet we indulge. Why?
Today’s passage describes our condition. In it, God poured out seven bowls of wrath upon the Earth. In their pain and suffering, the inhabitants of the Earth didn’t allow this misery to cause them to repent. Rather, they blasphemed God. They appeared to connect their self-destructive rebellion to its painful consequences, yet they didn’t allow it to change their behavior. Why? In the face of God’s terrible wrath, why wouldn’t they embrace transformation?
This is our pathology as humans. We’re so enslaved to doing things our way, that even in the face of painful consequences, we’d rather continue on our path of self-destruction than admit fault and do whatever it takes to change. This the definition and the pathology of addiction – to repeatedly engage in a behavior, despite knowing its terrible consequences. If we desire to stop our self-destruction, then we must be honest about the connection between our behavior and its painful consequences. Then, we must be willing to daily do what it takes to abandon our way for God’s way – no matter what it takes. Otherwise, we’re just like those using the poisonous zombie drug.