The acts of the flesh are obvious… I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. —Galatians 5:19-21 NIV
For Christians who are coping with the perils of addiction, forgiveness can often be the most arduous hurdle to overcome. Even if you accidentally fell into addiction through a legally prescribed substance like opioid painkillers or benzodiazepines, addiction is still considered a sin in the eyes of the Lord, and the weight of this can make it difficult to accept or address if you have grown up in a Christian household or have lived your life close to God.
No matter the complex feelings you are working through in relation to your addiction, forgiveness is an important part of the process. It may be a challenge to admit your humanity and come to terms with the pain of substance abuse, but it’s the first step in renewing your relationship with Christ and being able to live the rest of your life addiction free.
The Struggle of Forgiving Yourself in Recovery
The Bible speaks clearly about the sins of addiction, outlining it as behavior not worthy of heaven. For those stuck in a cycle of dependency, this pressure of failure can be unbearable, driving even good, Christ-like people to make mistakes uncharacteristic of their faith. Feeling as though you have turned away from God and cannot return can be very scary, and drive you down a dark path.
However, the Bible preaches the power of forgiveness as well! 1 John 19 tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Getting to the point where we accept this is not easy. Accepting that God has removed our transgressions as far as the east is from the west may be difficult, knowing and constantly being reminded of our past. With prayer, rehabilitation, and self-reflection, it is possible to forgive yourself because God already has.
Forgiving Yourself as a Christian with an Addiction
Forgiving yourself is one of the key steps in recovery, but most addicts, especially Christian addicts, find this the stage difficult to face.
For many people, addiction feels like a distinct failure. After using for a period of time, self-worth becomes intertwined with substance abuse, creating a pit of low self-esteem, despondency, and despair. Admitting a need for outside help can be overwhelmingly hard, and getting that help can be even harder; after all, under 20% of those who need rehab ever make the commitment to pursue recovery in a rehabilitation facility.
As a Christian, admitting a need for help outside of God’s guidance can feel like the epitome of weakness, leading to a crisis of faith that makes speaking up and seeking assistance difficult. This struggle – the inability to face mistakes out of fear – can make taking the path toward forgiveness long and arduous.
Resentment is often at the root of an inability to forgive. For those who have struggled to seek help, cope with the recovery process, and overcome physical dependency, the pain and sadness inside can be hard to move beyond.
For Christians who feel as though they pushed God away with their sins, there may be many resentments standing in the way of love and forgiveness. Some of the most common reasons for frustration and resentment include:
- Perceptions of injustice
- Feelings of loss and fear
- Inability to follow the word of God
- Failure to live up to Christian standards
- Rejection from family, friends, and community for addictions and related behavior
These emotions are complex and enduring, eating away at you inside. However, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things (have become) new.”
Finally Forgiving Yourself
You know the importance of forgiveness and why forgiveness can be so hard, but how do you get there? How do you cast aside your sins and begin to live the teachings of the Lord once more?
Quitting drugs is hard, but rehab can help and may even be necessary depending on the addiction. Road to Freedom is a Christian-oriented rehab program intended to help you break free of addiction while adhering to God’s message. By combining Christian resources with medical science, you can get clean in a safe, comfortable environment. Our program may be the right step for you.
Recovery isn’t a journey you can take alone. 12-Step programs have a faith-based creed devoted to helping addicts overcome dependency and stay sober. With a support system of others taking their cues from God, you can stay strong together throughout your pursuit of abstinence.
In many cases, the course addiction takes can hurt those around you, putting distance between you and the support system you need most. Atoning for your sins and hearing sincere expressions of forgiveness can help you find clarity and peace within your own life.
Prayer is one of the most powerful strengths Christians possess. When you take time to read the Bible, attend church, and ask God for advice and guidance, you can see the path ahead of you clearly. Even if you feel distanced from the Lord, the more you pray, the closer you can be to his side once more.
Facing addiction isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in a world of resentment and hurt. Forgiveness is a big part of the process; as you admit your sins and allow forgiveness into your heart, you can find forgiveness in God, too. Psalm 86:5 says, “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” With this knowledge, you can move forward with faith and confidence.
When you need help to overcome your addiction, find peace with God, and learn how to forgive yourself for your transgressions, Road to Freedom is here. Call today at (844) 402-3605 to get the faith-based guidance you deserve.