I couldn’t possibly count the number of times I cried out to God to change me. To take away the desire to look at pornography, to lust, to cheat, to lie. The number of bruised palms from slamming the steering wheel after driving away from yet another indulgence I vowed just the day before I wouldn’t do.
The tortured yearnings of an addict.
We cry to God. No one seems to be home.
There is a reason for this. And the reason is not because I wasn’t working the steps hard enough or making my daily phone calls to my sponsor. It’s not because my counselor just doesn’t understand addiction. It’s not because I suffer from some childhood father or mother wound. It’s not because I don’t know how to pray.
No. The reason God seemed distant despite my emotional pleas for help is a simple yet hard truth:
I loved myself, and my sin, more than God.
There is a passage in Psalm 66 which cuts through all the excuses and charades we as addicts are encouraged to play in our culture today. It reads,
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened (Psalm 66:18)
God knows the heart. He sees our innermost thoughts and motives. God sees what and who we love and knows when our cries for deliverance stem from a selfish desire – such as restoration of a marriage or career or reputation – rather than a desire to serve and honor a holy, jealous God who demands our sole allegiance.
And so it is that God will turn a deaf ear towards us in our darkest hours until our worldly sorrow is replaced with godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10). Worldly sorrow, the sort of sorrow that regrets the consequences of our addiction, leads us deeper and deeper into the pit. Godly sorrow, the sort of sorrow that reckons our addiction as sin and despises it for how it offends God, leads to true repentance, and therefore, life.
Be honest with God. Confess the love affair you have with your sin and ask God to help you see your sin the way God sees it. This is a prayer God is sure to hear and desires to answer.
Psalm 66 is not without hope. Hear this great promise found within it, and may it be your testimony as well:
For you, O God, have tested us;
You have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
You laid a crushing burden on our backs;
You let men ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
Yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.