Showing posts with label addiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label addiction. Show all posts

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Name is Crispin... I’m a Judgaholic

Last weekend I gave a message at Northshore Vineyard on our human tendency to judge people.  Every since Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil every human since has been obsessed with figuring out right and wrong, good and evil and yet ironically estranged from truth that could set us free.  I related that this obsession with good and evil has manifested itself in the human tendency to judge others.

Why do we judge so much?  Because it makes us feel alive.  But judging is not really life but artificial life.  Judging is an addiction for which every human has a propensity.  When we judge we feel high, we feel righteous, we feel like we are living passionately but it is an artificial high much as the high one would get from doing drugs.  As judging addicts we have plenty of places available to get our fix in a moment from cable news commentators to radio talk shows to blogs.  We get high on this stuff because it stirs a real passion in us for making a difference in the world.  But unlike really doing something to change the world judging creates distance between us and the problems.  We can listen to a commentator and walk away feeling stirred up and euphoric, even feeling as if we have been empowered but the reality is that judgment doesn’t heal the world or make things right any more than a drug addiction helps someone function better in their job or family. 

As long as I stand pointing my finger I am incapable embracing someone with the love of God.  Jesus talks of taking the plank out of our eyes before we try to address the speck in other’s eyes.  As long as we are judging and judgmental we can’t truly see others or ourselves as we truly are because our vision is obscured by a giant two by four embedded in our eye sockets.  We need eye surgery.  We need to encounter God’s love for us in all of our failures and shortcomings.  We need to truly see where we stand in need of God’s mercy. 

The first step of walking out of any addiction is getting out of denial, of coming to terms with our own inability to change ourselves or the world around us.  I have realized over the years that I am a judgaholic.  I now consider myself in recovery from this addiction and am trying to live in response to the amazing love and generosity that God has shown me.  I don’t think I will ever be healed of this addiction this side of the Lord’s return but I want to stay aware of my fallen condition so that I can be open to the very mercy and grace that can truly heal me within and heal my eyes so I can see with the light of truth and love.

Is viewing judging as an addiction perhaps a helpful way for you to look at things?

Are you in recovery?

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Running to Stand Still

One of the best books I’ve read in recent years is Addiction and Grace by Gerald May.  Gerald May was a Psychiatrist who, in his work with addicts, realized that he had the very same tendencies towards addiction (though his were of the more socially accepted variety).  May’s premise, which I have come to agree with myself, is that every person is an addict.  Some are addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography, or cigarettes while others may be addicted to habits and substances that are totally acceptable in our culture such as food, video games, shopping, people etc.  Whatever the object of addiction it is something that a person is compulsively drawn to.  May’s writings have been very helpful to me as I have come to terms with my own addictive nature.  This morning I was reading a bit from Addiction and Grace and I came across this highlighted quote:

A therapist friend recently told me he had observed that “addicted people can’t meditate.”…In know my own daily practice of prayer and meditation is not easy.  One reason is that this practice opens my awareness to things about myself that I would rather not be conscious of.  In many instances, these awarenesses have to do with my addictions: how attached I am to certain petty concerns and competitions, how worried I am about truly insignificant things, how important my selfish ego is to me.  So I find myself resisting settling down to pray, or I fill my meditation time with images or music or words—anything that will keep me from simply being present and awake before God.

These words really ring true with me.  I find sometimes that everything within me resists meditating, quietness and solitude.  When I plan to pray I feel a sudden urge to check my email, or make a phone call, or read a devotional, or turn on some worship music… anything but sit quietly with the Lord. 


One of my favorite U2 songs is Running to Stand Still.  The lyrics are about a heroin addict growing up in an impoverished area called the Seven Towers.  The imagery of the lyrics “She’s running to stand still” evokes an scene of someone running heroin into to the blood stream to get high, yet the bigger issue is not running the heroin but running from pain, trying to escape like Jenny in Forest Gump. 

The kingdom of God is completely opposite to the addictive inclination.  In God’s kingdom it is not a matter of running to stand still but of standing still to run.  We avoid this standing still with everything within us as if it is death itself, but this is precisely the place we desperately need to encounter God.  Carl Marx may have made the claim that religion is the opiate of the masses but true relationship with God doesn’t numb us or keep us distracted from pain, on the contrary following Jesus means confronting pain in the world around us and the pain within our own hearts.  This is not because God wants to see us hurt but because he wants to see us set free from the inside out.

Can you relate to these words of Gerald May?  Have you ever found that everything within you resists getting still before God?  

Monday, September 29, 2008

Euphoria of the Fix and the Agony of Withdrawal

Many popular songs deal more with what I would call addiction issues rather than substantive issues of the heart. By this I mean that what typically falls in the category of a “love song” has more to do with the euphoria of the “fix” while what would be characterized as a “breakup” song has really much more to do with the pain of withdrawal. Many musicians, even Christian (or should I say especially Christian, and by the way I would include myself), are much too fearful to go beneath these surface impulses and write music from that place. But if we can connect with that place, if we can encounter God in that place, if we can find redemption in our loneliness, in our brokenness, in our fractured selves which cry for wholeness, that place which lies behind the pretending and posturing, and write songs from there, how different the music might be.