For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. Romans 7:15
Dear Listeners and Supporters of the OCN,
When we hear the word “addiction,” our minds go straight to alcoholism and drug addiction. We think of homeless people clutching brown bags, or maybe we think of that one relative who always made a scene at family gatherings.
While addiction certainly describes alcoholism and substance abuse, addiction is now also used by professionals to talk about a wide array of compulsive behaviors, like gambling, sexual behaviors, shopping, eating – even working too much! . What makes a behavior compulsive? A compulsion is defined as an irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation.
Is that not a perfect description of any sinful behavior? After all, how many of us have only gossiped or lied or refused to forgive ONCE in our lives? And despite hearing the words of Christ over and over, despite knowing that sinful behavior never makes us feel good in the long run, despite our authentic desire to grow closer to Christ and those around us, we sin. We sin over and over. We can’t seem to help ourselves!
And we are not alone. St. Paul himself describes the struggle in Romans 7:15 “ For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
During the month of August, we’ll hear from fellow Orthodox Christians about not only the nature of spiritual diseases, but also powerful testimonies from Orthodox Christians who are no longer living under the yoke of compulsive, negative behaviors.
We are all addicts to sin. So let’s each think about our own sinful compulsions. Am I constantly fighting with my spouse or yelling at my children? Do I put others down in order to build myself up? When overwhelmed with my life, do I turn to Christ for comfort or do I bury myself in work, or reality TV, or ice-cream?
Join us this month as we journey together into a better understanding of human compulsion, but also into the relief we can find from those behaviors. Our solution is the same as it was for St. Paul: “Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25)