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Additional Comments on Addiction As a Besetting Sin

 

The following thoughts came to mind after the primary article on Addiction As Besetting Sin was written.  That primary article needs to be read to place the following in context.

Jay Adams addresses the “life-dominating problem” in the Christian Counselor’s Manual. The person’s focus in his “problem,” but he has many areas to address which include responsibilities to his work, spouse, family, physical health, church, etc. (Adams names some 15-20). This broader focus is important in two ways. 1) The person has a total, and comprehensive responsibility before God. 2) Other physical and mental activities take his mind off his “problem” so that he doe not have to manage his “problem” constantly in his mind.

As we discussed this morning, words are important. I disagree with Alcoholics Anonymous that one should say, “I am an alcoholic” or “I am a drug addict.” One has recognized the severity of his own problem when he is willing to seek help. That is sufficient for recovery (sanctification).

Rather, he or she should say that I am a child of the Great King, and He is my Lord and Savior. Now, I realize that may be difficult for an “addict” (I only use the word here for brevity’s sake) to say, because of his true guilt and guilt feelings. But, herein is the most important issue, that person’s theology. Does he understand Romans 8:1 and Psalm 103:12 to the extent that he can apply it in his own life, primarily his own mind (Philippians 4:8)? This understanding may be the most crucial item to move away from that “addiction.”

To point the way to getting beyond a besetting sin (perhaps, I should use BS and PBS -- person with besetting sin!) is not to say that I do not recognize the truly life-dominating difficulty of the problem itself. But, like the surgeon, great skill is needed with words, as with a scalpel. (I never thought of that illustration before! Helpful!) Leaving some of the tumor causes great harm in the future. Perhaps, the PBS needs to be more precise with words than the theologian. For the latter, he is detached from his thinking, writing, and speaking. But, the PBS is trying to build his house… what a firm and precise foundation he needs.

I would differ with one quote in my paper from Hewitt. As we discussed this morning, some people with PBS are not at the “starting point” of the Christian life. Many are far down the road in maturity in other ways.

Well, those are some additional thoughts. PBS is a problem that the Church, including nouthetic counselors, has not adequately addressed (probably because of the serious commitment that such a program would require). And, this failure has probably allowed the continued validity of psychology and psychiatry beyond its legitimacy.

 

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