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Posted by Gary Labels:

My name is Gary, and I am here today to talk about my addiction. For years, I've struggled with this very powerful drug called "sin."

What is it? Sin is a poison that infects the core of our being and spreads from one part of our lives to another part (and is highly contagious), much like leprosy. Many people go through life thinking they are good people. They don't kill anyone, and they don't go out of their way to hurt people. That's good - indeed it is. But goodness is not the point. No amount of goodness will remove the taint - it will only dilute it (and give it more room to spread!). If your good deeds are a partway full glass of water, then sin is just one small drop of poison. Do you think doing good deeds will erase the contamination? Fill the glass more full with water, and the poison is still there.

Where does it come from? Sin comes from whatever it is that tempts humanity to follow ways other than God's. Whether you call that "Satan" as a personal demonic entity or as some metaphor for a flaw in our nature is up to you - it's not my point here. Sin is a vicious spider waiting in ambush, six opaque black eyes shining with a cold bloodlust whenever her favorite prey - a human being - comes by. Two wicked fangs chitter excitedly, dripping venom in anticipation of the hoped-for meal. Her web is not always clear - were it easily seen, none would enter! Truthfully, her web can only be seen when the Light shines from just the right angle.

Her legs keep steady on her web, hoping for a vibration to tell her that dinner has come. She capitalizes on our weaknesses and our honest, heart-felt pain. All it takes is for a beautiful butterfly to be ensnared is a minor diversion - a moment's carelessness. It struggles in the web and panics, thrashing wildly. Its desperation heightens into panic as its vain attempts to escape only lead to further entanglement. Slinking in for the kill, she does not hurry. The prey will wear itself out. She relishes seeing the panic, anger, confusion, and fear turn to hopeless resignation. With sadistic glee, she stalks in, wraps her legs around the beautiful, wonderful butterfly, and sinks her fangs fiercely into the prey, then backs off again to admire her handiwork.

It burns in the hapless creature's veins. It labors for breath, its mind becomes addled as the body shuts down. As the poison's infection spreads, the butterfly becomes desensitized to it - full anesthesia. When the initial poison sets in, Sin finally comes for the feast. The poison breaks down the butterfly from the inside, turning it into a liquid for the spider to drink greedily. The butterfly is nothing more than an empty soulless shell. Trash to be discarded and forgotten.

This is what sin does to us. It ensnares us in our anger, our guilt, our shame, our discomfort, our pride, our covetous desires. Even the natural desires for social and intimate company are not overlooked, nor is even the hunger for food. Any of these surfaces can have a vicious web lying in wait. Cruel manipulation of your pain is its greatest pleasure, entangling you further and further, rendering you unable to even move. Then the true infection comes, desensitizing you and destroying you from the inside. YOU ARE A TOY. YOU ARE A MEAL.

What is the allure? What draws us to it? All it takes to ensnare is the right carrot on a string - some false hope or satisfaction. Do you enjoy your longneck bottle? Little do you know that it, in truth, will consume you. You find it amusing that you feel pleasant and can't quite keep your balance without serious effort. With your inhibitions gone, you can relax. People say you're fun to be around! You would never dance or sing until you've loosened up. You're too nervous to talk to girls, so you "strap your courage on." Quite insidious, this lure pulls your in a little at a time. Maybe you don't even struggle when the first web strands, strong as steel and sticky as glue, take hold of you. Whether you struggle or not, you fall further into it. It will indeed leave you "wasted."

That gorgeous girl on your computer screen with the friendly smile, perfect teeth, and wonderful curves. You want to have her? She will have you - she is nothing but a beautiful ruse for a deadly black widow. She will steal your time in your most private moments, when you should be sleeping, reading, or praying. She will keep you in the shower for suspiciously long times. She will cause you pain in your heart that surpasses the pain that makes you wince when you put weight on your sore right wrist - the pain that reminds you of your weakness and shame. You'll be paranoid about letting anyone else use your computer, lest they see where you've been on your history/bookmarks. You want her to drink you dry? She will - she lives to devour your shame, your time and energy, and your innocence. You may never be able to be satisfied with a real woman again. Always thinking of her instead, somewhere in a dark corner of your heart. You want to love her, but you can't commit completely. You need to type that sermon - just like every Friday evening - but first you want to empty yourself so you can get those distracting sexual thoughts out of the way before you handle God's word.

You love your boyfriend so much - he makes you feel wonderful because he says he loves you and gives you butterflies. But he wants to do more than hold your hand, and... you're scared, but you love him. You open yourself to him - you trust him with your most precious gift. But he is sin's puppet, doing her bidding to lure you in with promises of making you feel very good and feel good about yourself. Promises of intimacy and post-climax contentment in the arms of a wonderful guy. That amazing bond you have with him is like nothing else. You want that mental connection, too. The feelings you have for him could just BURST out of you, you're so happy now! You look up at him in amazement for what he's doing to you. His eyes, however, never make contact with yours and he screams "f*** yeah!" to show his enjoyment. A part of you realizes that his feelings are purely superficial, but you fear to admit it. You banish the thoughts, lie back, and enjoy the ride in hopes to please him. You just want somebody to love you and treasure you. ...But he himself is already ensnared, and is nothing but a tool to bring you in, too. Sin will break your heart and suddenly rip away that beautiful feeling you have for him. The emptiness in your heart is colder than the deep void of space, and you shudder. What did you not give him? You gave him everything! ...Didn't you? So then why did he leave you all alone...?

You're in high school, a senior now. Your friends do things you wouldn't be comfortable with. When they pass the joint, everyone's looking at you. You're afraid to disappoint. Randy was just talking offhandedly about how much of a lamer his dad is for being against pot. You don't want to be a lamer, do you? Just one puff. You can take it. Then you find out that you are ensnared. If you aren't addicted to the pot, then you're addicted to the social acceptance. So, you come up with an excuse to not do it anymore and your friends are cool with it. Then you get pulled over by the cops, who search your car and find that your friend had a stash in his back pocket. BUSTED. Now you're in jail...

What can we do? Our first instinct is to struggle hard. We try to keep the bottle away. Get it out of the house. Pour it down the sink. We erase that folder on our computers. Well... most of it. If you absolutely HAVE TO, you might as well have a little left so you can do it without hurting your wrist or rubbing your skin raw, am I right? A legitimate health reason. You try to set boundaries with him, but the truth is you have no control in the relationship because you are one of many girls who can give him what he wants, but (you feel) he is the only guy who can love you. He has the power, and you will give in next time, too. You tell your friends that you don't mind if they smoke pot, but you won't. You still get the contact high, though.

Sin ruins us. We can't stop it. We can't stop ourselves. If it was a mere choice on our part, it would not be called an addiction. There are only two things that can save us: the Light that always shines, which lets us see the trap and avoid it. And if you get caught? A soul on fire for God will burn those cobwebs to embers and make their wicked weaver shriek as she runs for her life.

Sin will trap you. It will eat you. It will leave nothing left. You will not be what you once were.

It's happened to all of us, but there is HOPE! No matter what shame you have, no matter what wrong others shun you for, THERE IS HOPE. God will not despise anyone who seeks Him, regardless of their past. Pray. Talk openly about your issue with trustworthy friends. And ask God for the power to overcome and to be HEALED.

"And when you were dead in your sins and your transgressions, in which you once lived according to the custom of this world, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all also once conducted ourselves in the desires of our sinful nature, obeying the whims of the sinful nature and our rationalizations. And we were, by virtue of our wicked nature, on the fast track to hell just like everyone else.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of how MUCH He loves us -- and when we were dead in our transgressions -- God revived us with Christ (by grace you are saved), raised us with Christ, and appointed a place in the heavenly realms for us along with Christ. For it is by GRACE you are saved through faithfulness. And this wasn't YOUR faithfulness -- it is God's gift. Not because of any of our deeds, lest anyone boast. For we are HIS creation, made in Christ Jesus through HIS good works, which God provided in advance, so that by them we could live." ~Eph. 2:1-10