Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heroin, and the Heart of Addiction

heart-of-addictionYet another Hollywood tragedy reported in the news this weekend. What continues to sadden me is how our culture reacts to a dead actor found with a needle in his arm as he reportedly overdosed on heroin while taking several other prescription meds for A.D.D., anxiety, depression, etc. because they deny God’s truth, they are blind to the cause of addiction.

I heard one commentator blaming parents and maybe some of the blame can always be attributed to parents, but we need not look any further than one’s own heart’s desires to find the reason for addiction. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us of the nature of our hearts:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

So the world continues to refuse to listen to God’s Word and numerous warnings about the danger of trusting our hearts like the verses preceding the one referenced above:

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)

You see, the Bible NEVER tells us to trust or to follow our own hearts! Instead, the Bible warns us about trusting in self, in mankind, and in the so-called wisdom of man. Read Proverbs 3:5-8:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

While I listen to commentators and people like Dr. Drew on news programs discuss the problem with addiction in our culture, I am reminded of the profound simplicity of the truth of God’s Word that points me to my own heart as my chief problem. That sinful heart and its desires to live to please oneself is what is the root cause of addictive choices and it will lead to death according to Romans 3:23:

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God offers the addict eternal life when one confesses sin as sin, repents, and places complete trust in Christ Jesus. Sadly, it is too late for Mr. Philip Hoffman, but it is not too late for you and I to repent today and place our trust in Jesus who has the power to transform us by His grace. If you are struggling with sinful choices that are enslaving like an addiction, cry out to Jesus today and ask His forgiveness that you might be saved and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

-Pastor Mark Shaw (proclaiming the truth about addiction and the compassion of our God)

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Mark ShawMark Shaw
Mark Shaw has 22 years of counseling experience working in a variety of settings including faith-based residential programs, dealing with issues surrounding “addictions” of all types, and supervising staff positions. His experience in the biblical counseling field began in 2001. He has written 14 published works including The Heart of Addiction; Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies; Divine Intervention: Hope and Help for Families of Addicts; Addiction-Proof Parenting; and Hope and Help for Self-Injurers/Cutters. He also co-authored a chapter in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling (2013).