Not Your Problem – Ours.

birds2Yesterday I was thinking about how to move past the past.  I mentioned a post by a friend who struggles with porn addiction – and his remorse, especially towards his wife. It’s one thing being sorry for your own mistakes.  But how does knowing the gospel help those who’ve been hurt to step forward too?

His wife writes this:

I can also be very disorganized, selfish, tardy and tend to put myself first.  I also consider myself an “addict” as well as my husband. My dysfunctional life is for sure  MUCH harder when I am giving into my “addiction” and caught up in it’s iron grip. Who pays? Me, my kids, my husband, and anyone else I’ve committed myself to. Just like a sex addict, others pay too.

My road is a bit harder to lay out because my addiction is harder to define. Not so many tidy support groups or workbooks. My escapist behaviors are extremely  versatile and so familiar to most people that I find myself actually encouraged to follow my particular addiction from many corners.

I am addicted to making life work on my own.

I am addicted to figuring out the very best way to get exactly what I want, even when I don’t know what that is!

You will find my problem  in the book of Proverbs, but it’s not called addiction and it’s not called a disease. It’s called “foolishness”. When fighting my particular addiction I am a simpleton, fighting for scraps of wisdom, trying my best to flee  the foolish ways of this world.

I have never tried my husbands drug of choice and see no attraction to it.  But, I would be lying to say I don’t understand the magnetic draw to things that don’t work and never will work. I have felt the thrill and rush of adrenalin when finding a new  book or program or idea that promised life with out wrinkles.

Whatever I’m lacking is within my reach:

How to Win Friends and Influence People

14 days to a brand new you

Latin for dummies

Organizing Made Simple

How to be a Domestic Goddess

Teach your Baby to read in 100 easy lessons

Affair Proof Your Marriage

How to Really Love Your Child

The 400 Calorie Fix

How to have a Negative Footprint, Carbon or Otherwise   (this one’s not a real book, but it’s one I might write)

I seek information the way  a drunk seeks booze. I am drawn to methods that guarantee results. I want to know.

Right now I’m on a quest to find the perfect Doctor. I’m looking for someone who can give me answers. I need to understand what’s going on with my body so I can fix it and make my life work the way I want it to.

I don’t want to humbly accept the kindness of my husband and parents and extended family. I don’t want to have to  say “Thank you” to anyone. I want to be the one to say “You’re welcome! No problem! Glad to do it!”

If you don’t hear sinful compulsion, self sufficiency, driven-ness, and obsession  in that, maybe we should start all start a new recovery movement together!

All  addicts must trace the root of our sin to the desires of our hearts. For the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. The recovering addict’s cry must be “Search me, Oh Lord! See if there be any wicked way in me!”


4 thoughts on “Not Your Problem – Ours.

  1. True, most of us are “addicted” to one form of sinful coping or another. I will point out that though it is all sin, it does not all cause the same damage to the same people. You were “rewarded” for your obsessiveness by being betrayed by your own husband.

    “Great dinner hon. Nice dress. What was that entertaining phrase you used ‘vivere… something or other’. Wow, my shirts are pressed too. Time for bed? Oh, nah… I gave at the office.”

    It is true that our addictions are ALWAYS bigger than our outward behaviors and are essentially rebellion or distrust against God, but those outward actions are where the damage to one another is done. Certainly a victim is never “asking for it” or deserving to be the receptacle for our sin, be it rage, manipulation or idolatry.

    However, the mutual state of sinfulness in a relationship by no means equates the outward behaviors nor justifies them nor causes them. Both need repentance and forgiveness, but some actions are far more damaging than others.

    I would much rather be the recipient of gourmet meals for the purpose of securing me than be betrayed and destroyed at my very essence. I will never have panic attacks because somone made sure I always had clean underwear.

  2. Really amazed. I thought Church ‘helped’ us, us mixe-up people? Maybe it is a judgemental, intolerant kind of place for many, but i thought the fruit of the Spirit was ‘nice things’, as well as other centredness and certainly not introspection. Why all this me-ism, we seem to be aping the individualistic culture out (yes, out ) of which i thought we had arrived. To go back there, is to enter again, the swamp, surely? I think Christians have a unique gift, that is, to stir up the Hornets nest within, why? Because they are submiting themselves to the condemnation from which they can’t quite believe , they have received, forgiveness. Anyone can easily find darkness and i think i know who might be having a laugh about that . Grasp the positive, forgoodness sake or I might feel like going down as well with the rest of you. Ask this Q. if you want: how many of you feel accepted/acceptable in the eyes of God? We need positive affirmation of who we are, otherwise we are condemned by the so called powerful in this society who can send out a stronger message than the almighty himself. Perhaps we are too superficial, too impressionable. IMO. life needs to be lived with fortitude, as one gets on in years and hopefully one’s emotional life gets a bit of a reframing. Put simply one gets less impressionably influenced and better equipped ( armoured) , against the fieryness of others.

  3. Tim-
    Accepting forgiveness surely is central to the Christian life. The other side of the coin however is repentance. If we stop at believing we are forgiven we are not experiencing the full work of the cross, that is allowing Jesus to live through our own lives. Otherwise Christianity would be a very self serving religion indeed. And unfortunately we as the Church too often slander the name of Jesus in this way.

    I do not consider it “me-ism” to take responsibility for the consequences of my own sin or to realize the pattern of my own sinful tendencies, so that I might repent and ask that God heal the wounds that cause it. Likewise once I realize what I have been forgiven, it allows me to be able to forgive.

    Introspection is not me-ism. Other-centeredness without a healthy dose of it is denial. One will continue to sin habitually (addictions) because one is actually being loyal to themselves and their own past damage rather than to God. I consider this the ultimate “me-ism”.

    Tim, I am not sure if this is what you are advocating, but it is how I am reading it. You must forgive me if I am mistaken. Sip, Sip…. :)

  4. @ Chris:
    Ah yes, the trauma of finding a drawer full of nice clean undies. True, I can’t remember seeing a recovery seminar for that one!

    When assessing the cost to others, we must consider all this from the perspective of what OUGHT to have been the response to gross boundary crossing in a relationship. Only then can we see the actual damage to others because one “addict” (in this case the spouse of another addict) is consumed with keeping everything “nice” or “clean” or “thin” or “smart” or whatever, in order that a desired end result was secured.

    Sometimes recovery work will seem odd to other Christians, especially to the kind who read formula books heavy on denial and shallow quick forgiveness.

    A good question to ask is what will recovery (repentance) look like for the person fighting this type of “addiction” to foolishness? And further, what opportunities are lost when we don’t repent?

    Lets say a wife has been feeling bad, ugly, old, fat, unfeminine, unloved, and ignored. When a new magic exercise video is purchased and practiced religiously, perhaps what is sacrificed is a hard conversation. That difficult talk that might expose the truth and rock the boat. The one that might spell “THE END”

    When a new baby comes and there is so little money (after the cost of dad’s porn is taken out) maybe instead of zealously taking up frugal and “green” cloth diapering, a requirement should be made for financial transparency or a request for immediate employment change .

    Perhaps a job much closer to home with less commuting costs and less unaccounted for time should be offered as a solution instead of moving back to the “simple life” of no plumbing or electricity to solve long term financial woes.

    As far as children paying:

    The time spent in pursuit of excellence is often much better spent just living life well, (by “well” I mean with love and humility) Always re-setting super high goals for your self will send messages to Children that say “Only the BEST around here, no room for runners up!”

    Also, when one adult routinely makes excuses, or takes responsibility, (or worse; implies perhaps the child is to blame) for the actions of another selfish and distant adult, children will learn to either to be the excuse maker or the one always needing to be excused. Either way it’s sad and sick.

    Personal responsibility is at the heart of the Christian life. How can I accept His forgiveness if I don’t realize I have anything to be forgiven for? The work of the cross is FINISHED, but each person is only brought into the body of Christ at the moment they accept this finished work, which requires an admission of sin.

    When I blame others for my sin or I blame myself for their sin, I get it wrong BOTH WAYS.

    So I agree, the damages felt are very different, and the cost of restoration will be different, but we all have our work to do. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

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