Don’t Leave the Door Open

Don’t Leave the Door Open

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it. Genesis 4:7

A couple of months back, our garage door was left open one day, allowing in a chipmunk. Once in, he was not easy to get out. We pulled boxes off shelves and chased him all over that garage as we screamed and laughed. It’s an amusing memory, but we don’t desire to repeat it, so we’re now careful about keeping the garage doors closed. Keeping chipmunks out is pretty simple – just don’t leave the door open. Getting that chipmunk out once he got in though, took a lot of time and effort.

This is a suitable analogy for today’s lesson from the story of Cain and Abel. I thought I was done writing about this story, but over the last few days, I’ve been revisiting it, realizing that it aptly describes addiction. In today’s verse, God warned Cain that sin lurked like a monster at his door. If he lived righteously, keeping door closed, he would rule over his self-destructive nature. If, however, he opened the door, that monster would destroy him. Cain had a choice, but once he indulged in his anger, it overthrew his mind, leading him to murder his brother.

Addiction is like that. Cain wasn’t responsible for his predisposition to anger. He was, however, responsible for his response to it. Likewise, I’m not responsible for my appetite for opioids, but I am responsible for my behavior. In my addiction, I indulged in my hunger, opening the door. Once opioids were allowed in, they left an absolute disaster and didn’t leave quietly.

Now, I understand that God has given me the ability to rule over my appetite, but that in my addiction, I opened the door, allowing drugs to rule me. In recovery, I’m beginning to understand what it means to rule over sin. It means that I must daily do whatever it takes to keep the door closed to that monster. For instance, at the jail recently, one of the nurses brought a newly incarcerated inmate’s medications to me, including opioids, which I had to review. As she was leaving, I asked her to take those pill bottles with her. I didn’t want to be alone with opioids. I had no cravings. I wasn’t tempted. But if I’d have sat there alone, looking at those pills, I’d have opened the door, just a crack. I don’t ever want to go back to that life though, so daily, I will continue do whatever it takes to rule over my self-destructive appetite, keeping that door closed.

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