Monday, October 3, 2016

America's greatest problem few talk about

Photo curtesy of
My wife had cataract surgery a couple of weeks ago on one eye and she has been declaring what a difference her now "repaired" eye is from the other.  She'll look at an object and remark how much brighter and colorful it looks viewing from her surgically repaired eye minus the cataract as from her other eye which also needs cataract surgery.

I was thinking just how her experience with new vision is like how our lives can also become distorted, discolored and in need of some sort of operation.  Our culture is much like a cataract which slowly forms over our spirit and blinds us from the true life God has called us to live, the abundant life that we were created to experience. This distortion makes it difficult to see the world clearly and so we can easily be enticed to live a fraudulent life of death and destruction.

So many young adults have been deceived into believing that the good life is one of drugs, alcohol and sex.  One study indicated that 23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs. That’s approximately one in every 10 Americans over the age of 12 – roughly equal to the entire population of Texas.  And that is only those who have admitted to having a drug or alcohol problem, perhaps only the tip of the iceberg.

I'd say we have a serious problem - an epidemic.  I have personally felt the impact of this problem indirectly. I am close to seven couples, some friends and some family, who have young adult children struggling with drugs or alcohol. All of these young adults, men and women ages 18 to 37 have had children out of wedlock, that they are not able to take care of because they are not capable or just don't want the responsibility.  And much of the problem stems from their addiction to drugs or alcohol. And so this problem is not just one that affects the addicted person but it also wrecks havoc on the lives of their parents and has a great chance of being passed on to their children.

We have a lot of problems in our country but I can't think of anything that does more harm to the individual, families and to society than this.  None of the presidential candidates are discussing this problem. There are no demonstrations or protests. I think many families keep these problems hidden so we don't really understand the scope of the problem. You may hear people complain about the drug culture being an inner city problem but this goes much farther than the inner city.  We have a rotten culture nationwide which leads to broken lives of drug and alcohol abuse and it is an epidemic in all areas of our nation.  And its tentacles reach into all areas of society.

Faith based rehab facilities are our best solution now to this problem.  They serve much like cataract surgeons. These facilities remove the addicted person from the destructive culture that has so discolored their world view, so they can begin to see clearly, that there is another world full of color that is available to them.

However, only a small percentage choose to check into rehab and there are not enough facilities to handle all those addicted if they did. The Church is best positioned and has the potential to not only treat and heal but be the key to winning the war on drugs. Celebrate Recovery and identity groups are ways the church has addressed the problem but many churches aren't equipped or even want to do the messy work needed. Ironically ministry to those struggling with addiction may be the church's best opportunity for evangelism and life transformation. 

Only until one admits there is a problem and gets treatment will he or she be able to see the difference.  Then they can begin to understand their true purpose, their identity and the role they can play to make a difference in the world.  Then they will see a world of color and potential and hopefully be more inclined to choose life over death. God said "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live!" Deut. 30:19 It is much easier to choose life when we see clearly the choices before us.

Perhaps we should take a look at our culture that promotes and encourages this life of death and destruction. Maybe if we dealt with the root issue, to understand that we do have a culture of death that permeates our society, then we could prevent so many broken and wasted lives.

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