HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVED ONE WHO IS ADDICTED TO DESTRUCTION AND PEOPLE OF DESTRUCTION
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The study of human behavior, as also found in psychology but not so much in psychiatry, is the crux of this article; confirmed and guided by the never-changing, Scriptural Word of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, as many psychologists also use psychiatry in their “talk therapy,” one must be careful to “test and prove everything to see if it is from God,” (1 Ths. 5:21-22.) Additionally, where the word “victim” is used, it does not mean a “victim mentality that merely seeks sympathy” or anything similar. It factually refers to the true “injured parties,” “fatalities,” or “casualties” of barnyard bullies, narcissists, psychopaths, and other sadists.
Much was done to assist alcohol, drug, gambling, fortification, and other addicts, while the trauma of their victims, who usually battle the sorrow and disruption of addicts all alone, are often overlooked. Generally, victims make excuses to protect their abusers. They quietly endure the horrible shades of maltreatment; hide behind ‘unconditional’ love’ or continue in denial, but eventually they will either sink, or seek help to cope with their suffering. And so-called ‘deliverance ministries’ and psychologists cannot help. If you know what they really teach and do, you will flee to Jesus Himself and the truth of His Word with all your might. The Jesus Christ of the Scriptures is the Only One Who can deliver and heal.
¨ The victims of addicts often struggle to understand where they went wrong. Why could they never love, give, compromise, hold on, struggle, plead, confront, or pray enough? If only they paid more attention, did not divorce, was not so strict or so lenient… Why doesn’t God answer after so many sleepless nights, tears, fears, prayers, and years?
¨ Most victims choose to see only the good side of addicts, who wilfully and meticulously live their double lives to perfection. The abused usually believe addiction has only one specific demon attached to it. (They battle only alcohol, or drugs, or fornication…) But any addiction comes with a magnitude of problems. Mostly, the abused never knew (or actually chose to remain blind to the fact) that their beloved addicts were/are perpetual liars, master manipulators, unscrupulous users, and masterminds of underhandedness and deception. The main problem with addicts is, they will do anything and use anyone to sustain their habits.
¨ However, overlooking the truth about the person behind the abuse, abused people usually think, if only the booze, drugs, gambling or fornication can go, everything would be fine. Most addicts have such “good hearts; it’s not their fault.” Alcoholism, drug, sex, gambling, and other addictions are “inherited illnesses and bloodline curses.” Addicts were abused as kids; were shaken from God by false Christians; dragged into addiction by parents, family, friends, spouses... And so, victims passionately shift the blame for their abusers’ chronic bad behavior to everything and everyone else. Instead, they should stop enabling the abuse by defending abusers, and hold them accountable for spitefully continuing in excuses to use everyone and everything to feed their destructive frenzies. Yet, trauma-bonded victims always hate the booze, drugs, casinos, sexually immoral women and men, bad friends… But Jesus warned, we must all give account before His throne for ourselves and for everything we have done, (Rom. 14:12.)
Then, by His grace, as levels of abuse keep piling unbearably on top of one another, God answers the many prayers of the abused. As always, He speaks through the contextual truth of His Word and reveals the truth of all circumstances, as we must “know the truth, [for only the truth about everything] will set us free,” (Jn. 8:32.) It is through “all truth” that God peels off deception from the tear stained eyes of the abused, so they can see the whole picture to grow stronger and wiser in spite of it, instead of suffering hopelessly under it. God shows the victims of abuse that blame-shifting won’t help. And making unrepentant sin into sickness like physiologists do, is downright ridiculous. Bottles, drugs, money, sex, bad parents, spouses, and friends are not the problem. The addict’s abuse of and addiction to these things and people constitute the problem. Addiction is a choice, not an ‘illness.’
¨ So, it is by “all truth” that God has delivered millions of addicts and their victims, who personally and sincerely embraced Him, and willingly became doers of His Word. “God… desires that everyone should [come to the truth to be saved,] and repent [to be redeemed from sin,]” (2 Pt. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4.)
Redemption from sin is God’s aim, as that is why Jesus laid down His life for us, (Eph. 1:7.) However, nothing but personal salvation and repentance from sinful habits can deliver humanity from the power of Satan and his addictions. Without repentance and striving to obey God, there is no redemption from sin. Repentance equals deliverance, and repentance is always a personal choice and the sole responsibility of addicts to help themselves in the power of the Holy Spirit, by “coming” to the truth [or redemption through salvation in Jesus] and “repent.” Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will find mercy.”
¨ So, if so many addicts were and are delivered in Christ, why do others continue their destruction despite all the support in the world? It’s all about personal character, true commitment, and endurance in Christ. It doesn’t take much to fall into an abyss, but getting out is not that easy. God can pull us out in a moment, but He schools us in His will and builds His righteous, Godly character in us during the upward climb from darkness into Light. That is why James 1:8, warns, “A double minded man is unstable in ALL his ways.” This proves the statement that there is never just one demon attached to an addiction. They always come in mobs. E.g., fornication and adultery are supported by treason, lovelessness, disrespect, selfishness, lies, manipulation, infidelity, and violence that easily leads to even physical murder. A lack of submitting to Jesus and emotional instability affect every area of people’s lives – and every area of the lives of their abused loved ones. The children of addicts always suffer more than anyone else.
¨ Yet, unstable people always have a million excuses why they continue in addiction, just as their “enablers” or victims knowingly or unwittingly make a million excuses to help them remain in the sins of their choice, (read Rom. 1:32.) To help anyone remain, and thus to deteriorate in sin, supports a multi-level endangerment of everything and everyone involved. This is not Godly love, but actually hatred for the addict, ourselves, and others we are trying to protect.
If addicts themselves do not take control of the addiction in the power of the Holy Spirit, it might be ‘remedied’ to some degree through so-called ‘behavior therapy,’ but emotional instability will remain. That is why, for instance, someone might repent from drug addiction to become an alcoholic. He or she was a violent, underhanded manipulator as a drug addict, and remains the same person as an alcoholic — or even as a sober drug addict and alcoholic.
Jesus clarified this problem in Matthew 15:19 when He explained, “From within the [unrenewed] heart… [or human spirit still lost in sin and darkness] come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery…” Galatians 5:19 added, “The works of the flesh are manifest, [these are the unrenewed thoughts, beliefs, and emotions, (Rom. 12:1-3,) not the devil, drugs, or anyone or anything else that produce] adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery [Greek: “pharmakeia or witchcraft through the addiction to, and abuse of substances and toxic people,”] hatred… outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions… murders…” In light of this Scriptural evidence, no matter what addicts and their ‘enablers’ say, they are following their own choices and have no one else to blame.
¨ It is difficult and heart-rending for their loved ones to think about so-called “sick” addicts in this way. Nevertheless, unless loved ones help addicts to deal with their double-minded ‘hearts’ and souls or minds first, (and help those who sustain their habits to accept the truth about addiction and refuse to support such destruction any further,) all the therapy, prayers, and goodness in the world cannot deliver either the addict or the captured victim. Without the decisive choice of addicts to be Scripturally born again and follow Jesus’ true Word, some bad behaviors might seem to “change,” but dark hearts will always remain dark to overflow with all the wicked “works of the flesh,” as described in Galatians 5:19. (See Jn. 3:16; 1:12-13; 3:3-5; Gal. 4:6-7.)
Prayer is warfare of the highest kind, but we are not The Redeemer and therefore, cannot redeem anyone. We must realize that God will not grab fornication, adultery, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, the love of money, bad friends, spouses, and bad family and friends from the hands and arms of addicts. Addicts must persistently lie down, renounce, and flee from everything and anyone that can entice them to remain in, or turn back to addiction. ‘Gradual’ deliverance from addiction while continuing in addiction is a deception. Jesus promised throughout the New Testament Covenant, “In Him we have [present tense] redemption [complete freedom] through His blood.” Jesus does not redeem or deliver us through gradual initiations or church sacraments; He does not redeem us while we choose to hold on to sin, but He delivers us completely when we sincerely and earnestly call on His Name, trust in Him, repent from sin, and become doers of His Moral Law of Love, (1 Pt. 2:9-10; Eph. 1:7; Jn. 13:34.)
Heroine and other mind and body destroying addictions can benefit from medical help because withdrawal symptoms can be severe. However, addicts must drastically and decidedly break with addiction and it begins and ends with prayerfully laying it all down in the power of the Holy Spirit, and as said, parting with everything and everyone that can pull them back into addiction. This is why God commanded in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived [to think you can play with the devil.] Bad company corrupts good habits – [and the intention to keep good habits.]”
Then, that ‘void’ must be filled with Jesus: true repentance; prayer and worship; immersing themselves in the study of His contextual Word; actively building Godly relationships, doing community service, participating in healthy hobbies and activities, etcetera.
Addicts must also make drastic lifestyle changes to do restitution, not only to renew their “minds,” (Rom. 12:1-3,) but also their physical lives and personal relationships. Day by day they must “crucify the old man” (the sinful ‘flesh’ or thoughts, emotions, and beliefs,) so that Christ can live in a holy temple. “Because the life they now live in the flesh they live by faith in [and Moral obedience to] Jesus, Who loved them and gave Himself for them,” God will help and heal addicts who help themselves by His the truth of His Word and Holy Spirit power; recreating their chaos and confusion into sound minds and healthy, undivided “hearts” (or human spirits) and minds, (1 Ths. 5:23; Gal. 2:20; Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 4:6-7.)
¨ Victims of abuse must also break their co-dependency on abusers in the power of the Holy Spirit and according to His Word. They themselves, who became “enablers” to support the addictions, must end the bondage, which their beloved addicts wield over them, (Rom. 1:32.) Those addicted to their beloved addicts can only be truly redeemed by “submitting to God” and actively “withstanding the devil until he flees,” (Jam. 4:7-8.)
The battle is not just spiritual and emotional, victims and addicts must also be practical, (2 Cor. 10:3-5.) That is why Jesus commanded in Matthew 5:29, "If your eye… hand… foot make you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
God will not pluck out that stumbling ‘eye, hand, or foot’ of addiction. Victims themselves must “pluck” them out and “throw it from them.” This incredible self-mutilation of ‘gangrenous limbs’ is what delivers all addicts – both those addicted to “pharmakeia” (drug addiction) and those addicted to addicts.
However, no addict can be helped by anyone before the addict reaches an all-time low. As long as addicts can have their spouses, families, and whatever they want, as well as their addictions, they never have to choose between addiction and redemption in Christ. Similarly, as long as beloved-addicted victims have their abusers, they will not choose between them and freedom in Christ. Hard as it seems, the only real way out of addiction for both addicts and their victims, is Straight, Narrow, and Difficult. His Name is Jesus, and He shares His throne, glory, and honor with no one else.
¨ For victims addicted to their beloved addicts, “plucking out that eye” begins by getting rid of the guilt on which addicts and other abusers always play, by sincerely confessing all personal wrongdoing to the addict and asking forgiveness, (Jam. 5:16; 1 Jn. 1:8-9.) Regardless of the reaction, victims must then proceed by standing their ground. Say “No” from now on. This is what is called “tough love.” This is tough love for our beloved addicts and tough love for ourselves. No more money; no more help to carry on the addiction – no more crying, confrontation, fighting, pleading, sleepless nights; no more nothing except prayer, faith in Jesus, and obedience to His Word.
God never waste or ignore our prayers and good works, but if addicts trample the blood atonement of Jesus under their feet, they will not regard our sacrifices, good works, and so-called ‘unconditional’ love. Jesus commanded us not to “give what is holy to the dogs or throw our pearls before swine, lest they... turn to tear us apart”, (Mt. 7:6-12.) God does not violate the free will of people to accept and follow Him. He does not and will not ‘rapture’ or tear anyone from the earth, this world, or from sin. God calls true believers to heaven while they are living on earth, and He sets them free to follow Him through the darkness of this world into eternity, (1 Ths. 4:16-18; Eph. 1:7.)
We all feel frustrated with people at times, but we must 'work' as long a it is day; as long as the Holy Spirit leads. And yes, there definitely comes a time when we must “let go of them” and flee so that they “do not take our crown” or eternal lives, as well as everything good that is left in our temporal lives here one earth, (Rev. 3:11.)
¨ Tough love or setting boundaries and saying “no” to abusers is not giving up on a soul. It is help of the highest kind by disengaging from enabling their sin against us, while surrendering that person into the capable hands of God. It is a sober and stern decision where necessary, never self-serving, yet also self-preserving. God commanded us to love ourselves as we love others; not more than abusers by forgetting about ourselves. There is only One Savior and we are all valuable in the eyes of God.
¨ So, ‘Tough Love’ is always the only practical answer when working with addicts of all sorts. God is not, (said with great respect,) a sentimental daddy who says He loves us but sees us go astray without warning, disciplining, and intervening in our lives. Eventually, He will let go of us if we decidedly persist in sin. But God loves us in deed and truth and this is how we should love other people and ourselves. This is not a sentimental love that opens us up to manipulation and lies because we were trauma bonded by abusers, are actually co-dependent ourselves, and use our love for addicts to secretly feed our own emotional and physical needs. We must crucify our soppy emotions and take care that no one deceives us and abuses our “holy pearls” of goodness and forgiveness, as Jesus warned in the Gospels. We must obey the Spirit's Scriptural teachings, and we must use the common sense that God had entrusted to us.
For this reason, Jesus gave addicts as well as their co-dependent loved ones practical commandments to deal with their terrible, persisting problems. Because a lack of personal responsibility and fear of suffering and loneliness keep victims in bondage, it is easier to submit to the destruction of addiction, than to withstand the lusts of beloved addicts.
So, tell the beloved addict, “I love you but I hate your destructive sin and will not have any more of it. I will do everything in my power to help you help yourself to get out of this terrible mess. But I will in no way support your addiction or tolerate your abuse again, because you are destroying yourself; even your eternal life in heaven, me, [your parents, kids…] If you reject me for really helping you get straight, God will give me the grace to stop mourning and keep on praying for you. I know I might lose you forever and you may choose to completely destroy yourself without my help, but you are not taking me (or anyone else) with you with my consent and help. If you pester, assault, and harass me, I will call the police and have you locked up. If you abuse and neglect your children, I will call Social Services and let them be taken away. You may choose to join a Rehab Centre, get clean, get a job, and follow Jesus for the rest of your life, or you will eventually live on the streets. Before God, I now wash my hands in innocence where your destructive decisions are concerned.”
¨ Tough love and tough decisions are for tough people. I say it again: we must love God above all else and our (beloved addicts) as ourselves. We are not saviors of any kind but merely God’s instruments of light and practical agape in righteousness, truth, and Scriptural redemption through our own, and other people’s salvation and repentance from sin.
Jesus warned in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its [cleansing, preserving] flavor… it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Still wonder why addicts and other abusers ‘trample’ their victims underfoot and even murder them not only spiritually and emotionally, but even physically?
Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, He wants us to realize that nothing and no one on earth compares to our eternal lives with Him in heaven. That is why Jesus said in Rev. 3:11, "I am coming quickly... Hold fast to what you have, so that no one will take your crown..." If we remain at His feet, no one has any power over us except that which Jesus allows them from above. By His grace, we are able to overcome anything. “If God is for me, of whom shall I be afraid?”
A personal note to all those who suffer the abuse of their loved ones.
My dear friends who suffer the abuse of addicts of all sorts,
If only I could say it kinder… If only I could say that your trouble and sorrow will end in a moment...
Actually, it could, if addicts completely surrender to Jesus right now - but we cannot make them choose. I love you too much not to tell you the whole truth. This is my experience gained from working with “difficult people” and addicts nearly all my life. We will not and cannot change their “double mindedness.” Not even God does that against their will. The abuser must wholeheartedly take control of everything, and then the Holy Spirit will empower him or her to follow Him to freedom. We can and must pray and God will help, provide, and assist us, but He is the loving Father Who will not force heaven onto anyone. And so, He will not force them to bow down now. Believe me, I grieve with you and pray with you because I know how hard this message really is. But Jesus thinks enough of the abused to allow such terrible afflictions over them, because His strength and comfort are endless, and He will always be there through it all!
It might sound like a cliché, but Jesus really sees the whole picture while we, in our humanity, only it only in part. All we must do once we have done everything according to His Word, is to take up our cross daily and follow Him to the end. Our “cross” represents our suffering for righteousness sake. As we continue to follow Jesus, carrying our cross each day, He takes every step with us, because He promised that our burden, once fully surrendered to Him, will be light, whatever the outcome may be. Love in Christ, Renette Vermeulen