The list of addictions available to us – alcohol, drugs, gambling, computer games, dieting, shopping, prestige – seems to get longer every year. Even exercise, when carried to the extreme can become an addiction.
Psychologists told us long ago the first step in letting go of any addiction or any destructive activity, is to honestly admit the sin exists. The second step is to seek help.
Our Bible offers that same advice. After the prophet Nathan faced King David with his adultery, David wrote a song. We call it Psalm 51. I’ve quoted it here from “The Message” by Eugene Peterson, because his modern language paraphrase often brings clarity to the Biblical words:
Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down.
You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
King David realized his mistake, admitted it and asked God for help. Alcoholics Anonymous talks about “a higher power”. Whatever the language, the request is the same. We need God’s help in cleaning up our lives. Whether it’s gossip or drugs, we cannot shake the bonds of evil on our own.
Near the end of his song, King David adds one more element to his healing:
“Give me a job teaching rebels your ways, so the lost can find their way home.” When we refocus on helping others, we gain healing for ourselves. We each know our individual addictions and the destruction they cause. Seek God’s help. Step into God’s laundry. Ask for a new life.