This Thursday, I will attend my last CASA class. CASA stands for court appointed special advocate. It is a program that the courts use to assign advocates to children who have been placed in foster care. Throughout my last three classes, we have discussed the issues that are causing so many children in our area to be taken from their homes. The number one reason is drugs. Specifically meth, but also other drugs. It makes me sad. I think of all of my friends and family members who have been and are being ruined by drugs. It is kind of becoming an obsession for me. What can we do? How do we stop this senseless loss of life?
I know what the research says, and it isn’t encouraging. I have googled, ‘the bible on addiction,’ ‘sermons on addiction,’ ‘helping someone deal with their addiction,’ and I can’t find anything other than the usual, “You just gotta lay it down.” And I can’t help but think, What if they can’t lay it down.
This morning, I was reading my bible and asking the Lord to show me something, to give me wisdom, and to help me see what his word says about addiction. I felt like I should read the story of Samson and Delilah.
I never liked this story. It seemed so dark depressing to me. But, I read it….it was still dark and depressing. I read it again and thought, Why am I reading this? What does this have to do with addiction? Samson loved women, especially bad ones, it led to his destruction….Oh…Delilah = drugs/addiction. (Sorry Delilah, I’m sure you had your own awful story.)
I reread Judges 16 with ‘Delilah = drug addiction’ in mind. Judges 16 starts with Samson spending the night with a prostitute. He was trapped by the people of Gaza, but woke in the middle of the night and tore down the city gates. He then moved on from the prostitute to ‘falling in love’ with Delilah. (It’s a progression, y’all. You don’t plan to be addicted to Delilah.) She asks him to reveal his source of strength, and he plays along, innocently enough, but lies to her. She tests him by yelling, “The Philistines are upon you!” Samson then displays his strength, proving that he has fooled her. This pattern takes place three times. Samson must’ve known it was a trap. He wasn’t an idiot, he was an addict.
Delilah, like all drugs, was a wonderful temptress and a talented liar. Judges 16:15- 16 shows the turning point where Samson fully gives in. I can’t help but read this and think about drugs and their addict…the conversations that take place.
“Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.”
If you know someone who is on drugs, has been on drugs, or has relapsed, can’t you just see this taking place in their mind? Being prodded ‘day after day’ is miserable. Verse 17 says it all:
So he told her everything.
Oh, so sad. He gave in. I read those words over and over. I thought, How could this story end differently? Of course, God’s will was accomplished, but did it have to end with Samson’s demise? Could Samson have destroyed the Philistines without destroying himself? Even though God’s will is accomplished, man still has a free will, right?
What could Samson have done? He could’ve left. He could’ve run home and screamed for help. That is what we want drug addicts to do. Let them hit rock bottom and they will beg for help. But what if they don’t? What if Delilah is too strong? What if she calls her friends, the Philistines, and they bind him? What if his eyes are gouged out so that he can’t even see clearly?
If Samson was too bound by Delilah how could his story have changed?
His friends, his family, his community…where were they?
Now, I know many parents who have fought to the very end for their addicted son or daughter, begging and pleading, living in torture. So, maybe Samson’s parents wouldn’t have been enough, maybe his family wouldn’t have been enough, maybe he needed an army of believers to help him. An army stronger and bigger than Delilah’s friends to break down the door, and yell to Samson, “It’s a trap! Get out! We will hold your hand! You can beat this!”
Isn’t that God’s love? Aren’t we supposed to show God’s love to the lost? God’s love is relentless.
Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.”
You have been chosen to bear fruit that will last. You have been commanded to love! He doesn’t say, love those easy to love, love other Christians only, show love to good people.
See, the hard thing is that Samson probably didn’t want his family or friends around. He left them for Delilah, and I’m sure Delilah loved that. If you show love to Samson, Delilah will yell at you. Those drugs are powerful and they will fight back. Delilah will tell Samson to cut you off, not to listen to you, not to respond. Delilah will scare you, embarrass you, make you uncomfortable. But do you still love? Are you trying to live like Christ commanded? Can you show God’s relentless love to someone?
The drug addict ignores us and we go away. They yell at us and we wash our hands. The experts say, “Let them fall.” Jesus says, “Love them.” He doesn’t tell us to enable them, because enabling isn’t love. But you don’t have to give someone money to love them.
Where is the church when their addict is dying? Have people left your church? Where are they? Are they living in addiction? Have you contacted them? Don’t be scared! Break down the door! It takes more than the family, folks! The addict expects their family to be there, but what if you show that kind of unconditional love? Unexpected, fight to the end, I’m here for you, LOVE.
Do you know someone who is struggling with addiction? If you live in Northeast Louisiana, you do. It is rampant. Can I challenge you to call that person? Tell them you are thinking about them. Invite them to lunch. Ask them to come to church with you. Pray with them. Send them messages. Send them letters. Let’s bombard these people with Christ’s love. Let’s pull them out of Delilah’s house kicking and screaming. Don’t give up. Harass Samson, attack Delilah. Stop making excuses.
I am not being mean, I just know what it feels like to have done nothing. With tears in my eyes, I can think of many Samsons I should’ve been there for. I wasn’t. I’m sorry.