If you are a regular reader of the blog, you know that I am rather a stickler for words and what they mean in the context of biblical change for life change. For example, I believe that a word like “alcoholic” steals hope from people. While the word “drunkard” is not used much in society, perhaps it ought to be. Drinking to excess is a behavior that can become a lifestyle rather than a disease (in and of itself) that happens to a person for some mysterious reason that no one can scientifically nail down. It is true that drunkenness leads to physical ailments and diseases like cirrhosis of the liver, but those illness are results of the behavior of drunkenness.
Now, before you start sending me hate mail, the truth is that there is no agreement on any of these behaviors that the mental health people slap labels on and call diseases. In the vast majority of the people “diagnosed” (and I use that term very loosely) with a “mental illness,” there is no medical basis for such a claim. Why am I making an issue of this? This is important because words can steal hope. Words that condemn a person to a lifetime of being “in recovery” or “co-dependent” or “bi-polar” lead us to believe that we are a victim of a cruel twist of fate, or worse yet a cruel God who would afflict us with something that we cannot unload.
Yes, of course we are as a people mortal and prone toward physical illness and one day we will die. However, our death will most likely be the result of a medically diagnosed and scientifically proven illness such as cancer, diabetes, or complications of old age.
Words matter because they either give or steal away our God-given hope in daily life. Jesus Christ came to set the captives free from the bondage sin has on our hearts and lives. He died for the drunkard, the liar, the thief, the homosexual, the prostitute, the debtor, the rebellious, the angry, the doubter, the over eater, the under eater, the anxious at heart and the fearful to only list a few. There is hope in Christ for a changed life when the sinful things we struggle with (which is everything on the above list) is called sin, accepted as sin, and dealt with as sin at the heart level.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB)
Jesus Christ is faithful and He is our way of escape from the sinful ties that bind us to the old and worn out ways of the world.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB)
More next time on this very important subject!