This is the tenth lesson in a series examining the possibility that sin can be viewed as an addiction. If this is a biblically sound idea, it can be useful in gaining freedom from addictive behavior.
At this point, we are looking at the following resources: Lawrence J. Crabb, Inside out, Rev. & updated, 10th anniversary ed. (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1998); Gerald G. May, M.D., Addiction and Grace (New York: HarperCollins, 1988); and Patrick T. McCormick, Sin as Addiction (New York: Paulist Press, 1989). Although Crabb does not embrace the addiction model of sin, his perspectives are similar to those who do.
In this brief lesson, we will discuss the requirement of abandoning pretense. Real change cannot occur apart from this.
… deep change comes about less because of what we try to do and how hard we try to do it, and more because of our willingness to face the realities of our own internal life. Personal integrity, a commitment to never pretend about anything, is prerequisite for change from the inside out (Crabb,187–188).
In the final analysis, what is necessary for change cannot be reduced to a formula:
Change from the inside out will always be … a work of God, and must therefore remain a mystery (Crabb, 190).
It is a process, not an event. And it is a process never completed on this earth.
In order to experience the change possible during this lifetime, we must abandon the vain insistence that “the real change heaven will bring (an end to all pain) be ours today” (Crabb, 205). It is a false gospel that declares that we can ever reach a place in this life where pain and suffering are banished. The genuineness of hope is rooted in the promise of a better world and a better life to come. Paul wrote, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (I Corinthians 15:19, NKJV).
The common core in every effort to change must be “a shift in direction away from dependence on one’s own resources for life to dependence on God” (Crabb, 211).
In our next lesson, we will consider Keith Miller’s proposed adaptation of the Twelve Step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Is it possible this could be helpful as we seek to cooperate with the grace of God?