EXCLUSION AND ADDICTIONS
This post is part three of a three part series that addresses the complex issues surrounding addictions, religion, and God.
However, just as not all victims of childhood abuse become addicts, not all victims of addiction suffered the pains of childhood abuse. Sometimes it is the pain of exclusion that opens the door for addiction’s entry. Addiction can slither into the individual excluded or the family member who pains the loss of the excluded family member. Often it is the younger sibling who attempts to pay the debt, the pain of the loss of love, for the excluded family member. Exclusion in the family leaves a dark void, an emptiness that is created when love is withheld. This emptiness calls to be filled, filled with love and who better to do it then a child, one who is beautifully open to love. One who has not yet suffered the heart hardening pains of this world. Out of love for the excluded family member, a child seeks to bring balance and healing into the family.
The child, seeking to ally with the excluded family member, may not allow themselves the experience of full happiness as if to say “I will sacrifice my life so that you can live. It is not fair that I am loved so much when you are left without love.” We may witness a child take on some of the same personality traits, addictions, lifestyle measures and illnesses of the excluded family member in a subconscious attempt to offer love and support. This is where evil again reveals itself for the ugly truth it is as it seeks to kill, destroy and steal what God has for his children. Preying upon the innocent love of a child for their family member leaves an undercurrent of pain that only love can heal.
Sometimes the weight is too great for the child to bear and they succumb to physical, emotional and/or spiritual pain. After all, the child did not create the void of love and therefore they do not have the power to restore the lost love. Unfortunately, it is all too common that they end up succumbing to the false comforts addiction offers when they, time after time, fail at restoring love for the excluded family member.
EXCLUSION IN THE FAMILY
Exclusion in the family is the work of the enemy and, unfortunately, family exclusion is rampant today. This pattern often helps explain the behavior of those who experience “healthy” upbringings who seek the solace of addictions. Often this behavior is an attempt towards self-sabotage in their adult life, again the accepted and loved individual can come to believe they must make themselves un-loveable in an attempt to align themselves with the excluded person. We can look towards a child to see where love needs to be restored, where we need to reunite the excluded one with the heart of the family as God desires.
Once the block to love is identified love can be invited back to heal as only love can by utilizing forgiveness and acceptance. A young child, after all, only seeks to love and be loved in return. They do not see the many reasons, fears, and justifications a family holds onto that results in the exclusion because they see through the eyes of love. An astute adult would be wise to listen to a heart of a child if they want to restore love in the family.
You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger. Psalm 8:2
Of course this does not imply that we invite back into the family an abuser or a perpetrator; however, our heart yearn to find peace through forgiveness and acceptance. To hold onto anger and unforgiveness only serves to further separate us from love. Just as sin cannot coexist with divine love, the human heart cannot hold both anger and love simultaneously. Our hearts will either hold anger, or they will hold love. Therefore freedom is found when we can love and pray for those who harm us with a pure heart.
I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. – Matthew 5:44-45
THE TRUE ETERNAL PROMISE
We are all worthy of love, it is our birthright as God’s children. And it is through perfect love that we will experience freedom from all addictions and brokenness. However, in order to receive this birthright we must first surrender to our Father in heaven so that he can supply the healing balm we need.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. – Revelation 21:3-10
YOUR NEXT STEP
We invite you to read the rest of the series here:
If you or a loved one are suffering from addictions, abuse of any kind, or any other health issue, I highly recommend that you seek the care of a qualified health care practitioner skilled in this area. What I am providing you here is not intended as medical care or as a substitution for medical care.