Last Saturday, my son and I went to see the movie “Beautiful Boy.” I wasn’t sure what I would experience, though I was pretty sure it was going to be a heavy movie. It was. When the movie ended, the place was silent except for a few sniffles here and there. It is a story of addiction. And it doesn’t end in a fake, movie-like, happily every after way. It is based on a true story, written by David Sheff. It shows the pain and process of loving a kid with addictions. As I sat there, I found myself feeling pain for those I know who have had children and siblings struggling with the horrors of addiction.
There was one line that stuck out to me. It was said during a scene at an Narcotics Anonymous (NA) group session. When the kid said his addiction was a disease, he was corrected by the group as they recited together something like, “Addiction isn’t the disease, but my way of treating the disease.” In essence they were saying that the path to addiction begins because there is something else wrong on the inside. This is profound. As long as we treat the symptom without dealing with the issue, we will miss the cure.
This week I was visiting with a parent who said his 16 year old announced to him that she thinks she is transexual. Like most of us parents would be, he was floored. His little girl, who he thought he knew was having doubts about the very essence of her identity. And he didn’t know how to respond, or what to do next. Is this another case where culture has pointed our kids to a solution that misses the problem altogether? Is it another way of treating what is the real issue and do we run the danger of missing the cure?
These issues aren’t just for the young. I’ve spoken to adults that have jumped from one spouse to another, to another. They repeat the pattern all the while trying to treat their unhappiness, their frustrations, their anger. And they end up taking their unchanged self into the next relationship hoping this time they’ve found the answer. But again, they’ve been misdiagnosed and the real cure eludes them.
Some of us do this with pills. Some of us do this with career moves. Some of us do it with porn. Some of us do it with sexuality. Some of us do this with out-of-contol emotions. Some of us do this with a new commitment to a new morality. This is so engrained in us that pastors can even do this with ministry. It is the common human approach to finding the cure to our ache, our loneliness, our identity questions, our search for belonging and meaning. We keep buying into the misdiagnosis and the next fake cure.
What is our disease? Our disease is that we have left the only One (or keep leaving the One) who knows us to our core and loves us. Our disease is that we keep trying to fabricate lives with things that can’t bear the weight of eternity. Our disease is a pride that says, “We’ve got this.” when our lives tell a different story. Our disease is living in independence from the One who made us with the potential of eternity and deep fellowship with the Divine.
If this is our disease, what is our cure? Hear and embrace this…
- We are created in the image of God. This doesn’t mean that everything in our life, personality, or desires are given or approved by God. But it means that our existence has an eternal intention to it. We are no accident. And we are created with the potential of eternity and deep fellowship with the Divine.
- God invites us back to him. God, like the Dad we all long for, looks past our crap and failed attempts a self-cure to wait for us with eagerness to embrace us and heal us.
- His Son, Jesus is the way to healing. He came to carry our pain and show us life. He restores our call, our purpose, our hope of being changed and having the life we were made for.
- Once we’ve recognized our disease, separation from our God; and the cure, God’s rescuing love; we are freed to discover the joy of living in His presence and being changed by His love.
This sounds simple, but it is life-altering. If accepted, it reshapes everything within us. It reorients the core of our being around the Being of the seen and unseen universe.
The questions, the pain, the process may remain for a while, or a lifetime, but we find that God walks in the way with us. Life is still a place a learning. It’s a path of growth. It’s not easy. But Christ’s presence keeps us rooted, sure, secure and hopeful in the middle of it all. And he has provided others who are walking the journey, so we need not do it alone.
I have found that God and His Son, Jesus believe we are beautiful boys and girls. Accepting that, in the middle of mixed emotions, is the beginning of the cure. The rest of the cure is to let Him restore us to the lives He made us for.
Comments, Hopes, Needs, Questions?? Thanks for your time in reading, commenting and sharing.