WHY CAN'T I
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One of the most agonising dilemmas we face as human beings is knowing that a behaviour or activity is bad for us, and for those around us, but finding ourselves doing it anyway.
After the event there is usually some element of self-criticism mixed in with shame and guilt – a painful combination. When this dilemma is lived out regularly, it is often referred to as addictive behaviour and creates chaos in our lives. The addiction can be to something like drugs or food, or to something less tangible like our phone, a game, or a need to please people. The common element is an inability to say no! To stop ourselves.
If you can relate to this, you are not alone. Addictions affect people all over the world, to varying degrees.
What the Church says...
The Church in her teaching acknowledges that addiction has elements of both being a sin and a disease. We need forgiveness for our actions, and we need God’s healing to bring us to freedom.
In the end, the most important thing we need to know is that we have a God who loves and cares for us, and because of this we have a reason to believe and trust that everything is going to be OK.
What the Bible says...
One of the most powerful descriptions of addictive, destructive behaviour is given in the New Testament by Paul in his letter to the Romans. Paul writes: “I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate” (Romans 7: 15).
A few verses later he repeats his dilemma in these words: “I don’t do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do” (Romans 7:19). Paul is not speaking theoretically. He is speaking from his own painful experience of addictively doing the wrong thing, and being unable to stop.
In these verses Paul appears to be in a terrible mess but then concludes with an insight of grace: “What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death? Thanks be to God, who does this through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 7: 24-25).
It is quite possible for us to become so focused on our struggle with our addictions that we forget about the people around us, and God. When Paul managed to remember God, he moved out of his own small world and entered into God’s much bigger world of grace. This is a world where we are in the presence of the unconditional love offered by God to each one of us.
Many addiction recovery groups use a 12-step programme, originally from Alcoholics Anonymous, to help those struggling. The first three steps go something like this:
- We admitted we were powerless – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us.
- We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God as we understood God to be.
When Paul turned his thoughts to God, he found hope in the midst of his problems. It is a frightening dilemma to admit that I can’t say “no”, but being able to say that is the first step towards letting God’s love in. And God’s love can carry out amazing healing work.
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Identity:Identified contains 24 inserts and highlighting of key passages within the New Testament that are designed to help teenagers navigate life’s challenges with ways to identify why God created each one of us in the unique way He did.
This book also has a number of QR codes that link to a series of special videos that have numerous people sharing their stories and how they cope with life.
This is the perfect tool to help the younger generation in your life to follow Jesus as they navigate the challenges of life and trust him as a true friend and companion.