What Are You Prepared To Do?

Malone: [talking privately in a church] You said you wanted to get Capone. Do you really wanna get him? You see what I’m saying is, what are you prepared to do?  

Ness: Anything within the law.  

Malone: And *then* what are you prepared to do? If you open the can on these worms you must be prepared to go all the way. Because they’re not gonna give up the fight, until one of you is dead.” 

Dialogue between Jimmy Malone and Elliot Ness in the movie The Untouchables 

Likewise, I ask those with destructive habits (addictions): Do you want to change? 

And what are you prepared to do?  

Like Elliot Ness, who was charged with the task of taking down Al Capone and had a street- smart cop as a helper, we have the Bible to give us the power to overcome drug and other “addictions”.  

Drug abusers should not be written off as though they are lepers. We are all sinners before God; they are not unique, and with God’s help, they can get clean. As is the case with Ness fighting Capone, the journey to be victorious over drug abuse is tough. But God gives you the resources and power. “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 

Like other bad habits, drug abuse leads down the path of destruction, death. As Neil Young sang, “Every Junkie’s just a settin’ sun.”  

Even though people have lost their dwellings, relationships, health, sanity and have spent time in jail and rehabs, they continue in their destructive behavior, craving their idols that falsely promise an escape from the world’s hassles. They must decide to change and want to turn from the sin of drug abuse as Elliot Ness wants to take down Al Capone! 

Do you want to change? If so, then what are you prepared to do? 

A Rescue From Voluntary Slavery

The faith community has been coming to the forefront to help rescue people from the drug epidemic, a problem which Christian counselor and author Ed Welch calls “voluntary slavery.” The better programs, which are certainly better than the government funded, endorsed rehabs, say that “addictions” are sin.

The establishment’s mantra is that drug addiction is a disease, and not a character flaw. If drug abuse is a disease, then you cannot help doing drugs and are not responsible for your habit. Treating it like a disease, you would just keep the carrier out, like keeping rats away to prevent the bubonic plague.

If drug abuse is a choice, which it is, then you can overcome it. You can, with the help of Jesus. A message on Breaking The Chains of Addiction’s Facebook page reads:

“So what we have to ask ourselves is “Why do we hesitate to get people to Jesus”, why do we still put secular and worldly solutions in front of the addict rather than bringing them directly to Jesus.

Maybe, just maybe, we do not have faith like the four friends of the man sick of the palsy.

Why would we tell an addict anything other than Jesus Christ is the answer? “

In lower Bucks County, PA the faith-based meetings to help people overcome this destructive behavior, sin has been growing. Recently, an “addictions” meeting, which one participant calls a “Bible study” started at the Oxford Valley Chapel in Levittown, Tuesday nights from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m.  So-called addictions is just another sin and can be treated Biblically like any other sin. The Bible is sufficient, with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, to overcome any human problem of the heart. Drug abuse is a spiritual problem.

Another strategy to fight the drug epidemic is to keep the drug dealing rats from bringing the disease to the public. This was tried before – prohibition. All this did was increase crime, make gangsters rich, increase taxes and government control, and create material for movies.

What helped resolve the problem were grass roots, Biblical based initiatives, such as what became known as The Oxford Group. The church, true to scripture, got involved to help people break the chains of destructive behavior and help restore people to the way God made them.

Today we are starting to do the same thing, as more faith-based groups step up to the plate to handle the problem. Christians must reach out to offer hope to a dying culture.

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “

-Matthew 5:13-16

That Stuff Is Poison!

“Girl, I, must (warn you)
I sense something strange in my mind
Situation is (serious)
Let’s cure it cause we’re running out of time
It’s oh, so (beautiful)
Relationships they seem from the start
It’s all so (deadly)
When love is not together from the heart

It’s drivin’ me out of my mind!
That’s why it’s HARD for me to find
Can’t get it out of my head!
Miss her, kiss her, love her
(Wrong move you’re dead!)
That girl is (poison)…”

Poison, Bell Biv Devoe

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=poison+hip+hop+song&docid=607988640642564809&mid=CEEAE9DD4A9340E2787ECEEAE9DD4A9340E2787E&view=detail&FORM=VIREHT

A few years back, I overheard a conversation in the men’s room of the public library in Levittown, PA where a guy told another guy that street drugs are laced with other ingredients that can kill you right off. The guy responded that drug users don’t care about the risk; all they care about is getting high.

A wolf in cheep’s clothing

In places such as Bucks County, PA, people looking for a good high are ending up with heroine laced with fentanyl. It makes them cuckoo, wandering around aimlessly, banging into walls, not knowing what they are doing, risking death. As Allen Ginsberg wrote in his poem Howl, “I see the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness…”

levittownnow.com/2013/06/20/cops-dazed-levittown-man-stumbles-into-drug-possession-charge/ 

The added dangers of fentanyl: https://www.statnews.com/2016/09/29/why-fentanyl-is-deadlier-than-heroin/

People are attracted to the promises of drugs, but in the end this destructive behavior makes the problems and duties of life worse. They don’t go away, except for a moment. Drugs are only a mask, which when removed, reveals our inner monster we are trying to hide.

We Wear the Mask

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 – 1906

We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile And mouth with myriad subtleties, Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while      We wear the mask. We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries To thee from tortured souls arise. We sing, but oh the clay is vile Beneath our feet, and long the mile, But let the world dream otherwise,      We wear the mask!

To overcome destructive behavior, such as drug abuse, we need to remove the mask and expose this sin, submit to God, who will heal you.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. Got is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond you’re a you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

We Can Do It Together With God

Everyone running to politicians for funding in order to fight the drug abuse epidemic does not cut it, exclaimed an animated presenter at a workshop at the Bucks County Faith Summit/We Can Do It Together event Saturday in Newtown, PA. Instead, a grass roots, autonomous group like that of Narcotics Anonymous with everyday people, recovered drug abusers is what is needed to help people get clean.

Back in 1931, an American businessman with a major problem with the bottle was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year and stopped the problem drinking. It wasn’t long before he relapsed. He came back to Dr. Jung, who told him that he was a nearly hopeless case and advised the businessman that his only hope might be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. He did. After attending meetings of The Oxford Group and having convinced the root of his problem was sin, he fully  recovered.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous

Drug and alcohol abuse have a common root.

The Oxford Group

Originally a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, the group was founded by a Lutheran minister who had had a born-again conversion in 1908 in a chapel in Keswick, England. Dr. Bachman, the minister, summed up the group’s philosophy:

  • All people are sinners
  • All sinners can be changed
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change
  • The change can access God directly
  • Miracles are again possible
  • The change must change others

The Oxford Group preached that addictions are a result of sin, and that confessing sin, asking God’s forgiveness is what will enable people to overcome their addictions. Addictions such as alcohol and drugs are not a disease, a problem that we just “catch” but are a matter of choice. Only God can allow addicts to gain control of uncontrollable lives.

Today, there are groups and meetings held in churches that treat drug addictions as sin (we all are sinners), which through Jesus can be overcome. It was a breath of fresh air that the convention promoted a faith-based solution to the problem of drug abuse.

Christian booklets and other materials were available at some of the many stations at the convention. There was a copy, in summary form, of Narcotics Anonymous. Faith based talks and Christian songs were included in the convention.

At the workshop before the one with the animated presenter, the presenter called addiction a disease. Someone in the audience challenged calling drug abuse a disease. While waiting in line to fill out some paperwork, I figuratively gave her a high five.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease_theory_of_alcoholism

Drug abuse is a choice, a sinful one. It is, as Biblical counselor and author Ed Welch said, voluntary slavery.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 13-14

With God, you can overcome the voluntary slavery of drug abuse.