Britney Spears, Matthew Perry, Amy Winehouse, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Mel Gibson, Colin Farrell, Johnny Cash,… the list goes on and on and on. These are just a handful of the names of celebrities who battle(d) drug and/or alcohol addiction.
They are people who have achieved a high level of notoriety in our society, some became addicts before fame and fortune, some after it’s arrival. One thing that is certain, addiction is no respecter of persons. Another thing that they all have come to understand, or, are in denial of, is that the power of “the high,” whatever it is, is stronger than their human will to resist it.
So, how do a shocking number of “Christian kids,” raised in good families, and taught the bible, and to love Jesus, end up in the same boat? What mindset gives otherwise “good” kids the idea that they are somehow different, somehow better? I have these questions, but I don’t have all the answers, I just have these ideas…
“Do parents teach their kids to get high?”
• What is modeled in the home? Do parents teach their kids to get high? I remember counseling with a young man who was battling with his parents over his illegal use of marijuana. He asked me a sobering question, “what’s the moral difference between his pot use, and his dad’s after-work scotch, or his parents bottle-of-wine-with dinner?” Do parents who drink in excess in front of their children somehow think that their kids are not in danger?
• Does our faith make us invincible? I remember a friend of mine in high school, used to say, “I can’t die”.. with youth, there is a feeling of invincibility. Do we over-sell the saving nature of Jesus? Do Christian kids somehow get the feeling that they cannot fall in the same way as others? Really? God promises to forgive sins, but he never promises to keep us from the results of sin in this life, rather, He promises to provide “the way of escape.” Do we think, “it won’t happen to me?” If so, let me ask you a question… is there any other sin to which you think you are immune? One of the common characteristics of addicted people is their tragic insistence of their own uniqueness.
• Are we learning good lessons from bad behavior? I wonder if parents who experienced the 60’s, 70’s, & 80’s are teaching their kids the good lessons that resulted from the crazy things they did? It’s kinda fun to recall the foolish things we did as teenagers, but if we have not learned the lessons ourselves, we may steal from our kids, the most important thing we can give them,… our experience. It’s important that we arrive at the conclusion of our stories. You could say, man when I was a kid, I was exposed to all kinds of bad stuff… (insert story here)… but then, we need to remind ourselves and the listener, where that bad stuff led. How many friends have we lost, how screwed up is that area of our lives as a result,… etc. I think it is good, in a sense, to watch the train wreck of others,… my kids saw a couple of Charlie Sheen’s lunatic rants… drugs do that kids!
• The balance of “liberty” vs. “love”… Yes, Christian, you are scripturally allowed to drink, some day (I fear soon) you will be allowed to legally smoke a jay. You have liberty, you are free, yes and Jesus turned water into wine… I know it. The thing that is important, in my opinion, is to balance the “freedom” that we have (which is a great benefit of our salvation in Christ) with the high ideal of love. We are commanded to “love one another” over and over the scriptures teach us this as a goal of our faith. Part of that love, is knowing when and how to surrender our rights out of concern for others. I know parents that raised addicted children, but never removed alcohol from their home, think that one through. “Enjoy your liberty” is not a commandment, but loving one another is. Love is sacrifice. Now, when you think that this “does not apply” to you… see point number two.
I have chosen alcohol and drug addiction as the culprit here, you hipster’s won’t like that. If it helps, insert: pornography, over emphasis of self image, materialism, or any other behavior that applies. Just don’t forget to look in the mirror and ask yourself what applies to you, and remember, you are no better than Charlie Sheen, or any other of the folks who have been affected by addiction/abuse. I know, I am one of them. I am set free, but forever impacted.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. –Romans 8:2