“You were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed, or unworthy. You were created to be victorious.” This anonymous quotation comes out of the addiction recovery community.
In preparation for yesterday’s worship on “captivity,” I’ve been thinking a lot about the many people in my life that have been held captive by the disease of addiction. For 25+ years working in the hospitality industry, I’ve worked alongside countless people who simultaneously aggravated me, entertained me, disappointed me, and inspired me. This rollercoaster ride form of a relationship generally exhausted me and my patience so very often.
From the pulpit, I’ve had the chance to confess my own failings as a colleague and friend, and out of a concern for my own health, for the many who I just turned away from. I’ve also shared how much I’ve been hurt by the few I allowed to make a claim in my life, uncovering my inconveniently compassionate soft spots. Some of the best people I ever worked with were the worst people to ever work with. I wonder how many thought the same of me?
But if we take seriously the promise of creation, that we are, each of us, created good and loved deeply from the very start, then the ills of the disease of addiction can be seen in a very different light. Yes, diseases like addiction command powerful consequences but they are, ultimately, not life-defining, at least in the sense that God’s vision for us encompasses so very much more. These diseases are a part of us and a part of those whom we might love, but the captivity to which they bind us does not have the strength to keep us beyond the bounds of God’s love. Perhaps the same might be true of our own love as well.
Think of those in your life who have wrestled with the chains of addiction, maybe they’re even bound up right now. Consider how God is still working in their life and yours to make love known. Wonder how that love might just be the key to unlocking the Spirit and making freedom possible, for them and for you.
May peace find you this day. -Pastor Peter
Lord God of grace and liberty,
On the night of the Passover, the sacrificed lamb became a sign of freedom and you freed the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. In Jesus, you freed all humanity from sin and death. Help us live into this new life, teaching us to serve you in faithfulness as you have served us. To you we offer our gratefulness in the name of the one who turned slavery into new life, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.