I Was Born Like This
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:31
I’ve loved opioids from my first exposure. I certainly made voluntary choices after that to seek more opioids, but that initial response to the drug wasn’t my choice. I was just born that way. I clearly remember my wife hating the feeling of that same medication which she received after childbirth. That was a lightbulb moment for me as I realized that not everyone was like me. I have a predisposition for opioids that others simply don’t have. Later, when I first attempted to find recovery, I met a counselor who told me I had a disease and that my addiction wasn’t my fault. He made it sound like all my self-destructive behavior could simply be dismissed. No guilt. No shame. He probably didn’t say that last part, but that’s what I heard because I was desperately searching for anything that absolved me of responsibility.
This, I think, is a common misunderstanding of both the disease model and of creation. In today’s passage, we read how God completed creation on the sixth day and looked upon everything he’d made, seeing that it was very good. The tendency for us, is to place ourselves at that point in creation. With any personal struggle, we’re tempted to say, God made me like this. Everything God makes is good. Therefore, it can’t be wrong to be how God made me.
This point of view, however, discounts the fall of man – the day upon which all creation fell from perfection. From that day forward, we’ve all been born with a myriad of flaws. No one needs to teach us selfishness, pride, lust, or greed. Those are simply part of our genetic inheritance and curse. Still though, we know that selfish behavior is wrong. We know we’re not meant to live according to our self-destructive, albeit genetic traits.
Just because I was born with a propensity to like opioids doesn’t mean that it’s not sinful to engage in addictive behavior. Christians often get this wrong, suggesting that certain behaviors can’t be inborn. You weren’t born that way. It’s a choice. The world buys into the same misconception – If you were born that way, it can’t be wrong. We’re all born with flaws though. Those flaws aren’t the sin. The behavior that arises from those flaws are the sin – because God said so. Being created in the image of God means that we can rise above our flaws, becoming better than our natural impulsive selves. If we want the life for which we were made, then we must abandon our way to follow God’s. Only in doing so can we escape our genetic curse, experiencing the life, joy, and peace which God desires for all of us.