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Me First

Me First

So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Genesis 19:33

At the core of the destructive behavior of addiction, is a profound self-centeredness. It’s not that those addicted weigh their needs against others. Rather, the needs of others simply don’t enter their thoughts. The drug has so consumed the mind of the addicted, that they’ll sacrifice anything and anyone to get it, maybe not even cognizant of the damage they’re causing at the time.

I know. I’ve been there. In the disaster of my own addiction, my wife pointed out that I never considered how my actions affected her. I simply did whatever I wanted. I wanted to object – the accusation was hurtful – but she was right. When I wanted the drug, I impulsively did whatever it took to get it, not considering that it wasn’t only my life I was ruining. Me first. That’s how I lived. I didn’t consider myself a selfish person. My actions though, revealed that I followed my desires above all, rarely considering how that affected others.

This is the root problem of humanity, damaging our relationships with each other our relationship with God. This profound selfishness was at the root of the original sin when Eve dismissed God’s will for her own, and it’s the root of the sin in today’s passage. In the story, Lot’s daughters realized they had no prospects for husbands or children. So, they got their father drunk and had sex with him, becoming impregnated by him. Lot’s failure was in getting blackout drunk, but the guilt for the incestuous relationship lies with his daughters. In their desire for children, they did whatever it took to get what they wanted. They knew Lot wouldn’t consent, but they didn’t care. They were going to get pregnant, and Lot’s needs simply didn’t matter.

Me first. This is our root problem, and it’s the problem that Jesus addressed when he commanded us to love God above all and to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Jesus didn’t only command us not to hurt others. He went one giant step further, insisting that we must also do good, loving others as we love ourselves.

Living in faith and recovery means that I now must learn to consider my wife’s needs. Recovery isn’t just sobriety. It’s living to actively meets her needs as I would my own. In my interactions with my neighbors, it means that I must continually ask how I may show them the love God has shown me. To truly follow Christ is to turn my life upside down. This new life isn’t simply learning how not to hurt others, but also how to actively love them, considering their needs as I would my own.

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