Short-cuts to love

This week I have been thinking a lot about the topic that Pastor John is going to be preaching about on Sunday, “Addictions.” I know and love a number of people who have suffered from addictions of various kinds. It can be utterly frustrating to watch someone continue to make bad choices and to remain under the grip of an addiction. The people I have seen get clean and stay clean are the people who get new friends when they get out of rehab. I’ve watch people come back from a treatment center go straight back to their old group of friends who are still engaged in the same risky behavior. They have no hope of staying clean without finding a new community!

In the words of John Steinbeck, “I am certain that underneath their upmost layers of frailty [people] want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love.” East of Eden (214-413).

That sentiment resonates with me. People turn to drugs, alcohol, unsafe sex, gambling, or other “vices” as a way to feel good about life – a short-cut to love. When a person gives up that vice they begin the hard work of finding real love and learning to be able to both give and receive love in a healthy way. I think this is where the church community has such potential to be a part of recovery from addiction. The True Source of Love is God, for God IS love. The church, the body of Christ, has the unique ability to connect to this source of Love so that we don’t have to take a short-cut falls into the trap of addiction. What would our community look like if our church was able to be that new set of friends a person in recovery so desperately needs? The community who helps someone learn what it means to be loved by God so that short-cuts aren’t necessary? A place where those who struggle with addictions could find a new way to live and to find love?

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