Renaissance Ranch

WWJD: What Would Jesus Do for Substance Abusers? (Part 2)

Nov 23, 2023

In our last blog, we talked about how Jesus would react if He knew everything that you have done in the throes of your addiction. If you somehow think that it’s all too shocking for Him or that you’re beyond the reach of the Savior, check out this blog. And for more thoughts on how the Savior views people in addiction (based on His actions and counsel as found in scripture), keep reading.

If the Savior were here today, you could count on Him doing the following for you:

What Would Jesus Do for Substance Abusers Part 2

(Gift Habeshaw/Freepik)

Carry your load

We don’t have to tell you that addiction is a crushing burden. Jesus wants to share it with you. Trouble is, most of us insist on pulling it all by ourselves. If you’re weary from the weight of your addiction, Jesus has a better way. Here’s what He preached:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Bible, King James Version, Matthew 11:28-30).

Because of the atonement, Jesus offers you a way to confess your sins through repentance, wipe the slate clean, and start again the next day. That means that whether you use again after getting sober or slip into full-blown relapse, He’s there to fully forgive.

And more than that, through praying, obeying Him, and making covenants with Him, He’ll bless you with power to do far more than you could on your own. This is called the “enabling power of the atonement.” Patients at our Christian-based treatment center have experienced this power as:

  • Feelings of hope when they might normally have felt discouragement
  • A strength seemingly beyond their own to resist a pill, a drink, or pornography
  • Feelings of gratitude that allow them to meet their challenges with new eyes
  • Feelings of forgiveness for others who may have hurt them in the past
  • Peace and clarity instead of confusion

See you for what you can be

There’s a pattern in scripture of a Savior who keeps His eye on the best version of us—even when we are not acting the part at all. Though Saul had spent his time and energy making life miserable for people who believed in Christ, Jesus saw a better version of him. Imagine loving the person who tormented people for loving you! After questioning his actions, Jesus invited him to “rise, and stand upon thy feet” and called him to be a minister and a witness (KJV, Acts 26:16). Saul didn’t exactly have the resume to qualify for either, but Jesus trusted him anyway. In the same conversation where He called Saul to repentance, He charged him with an all-important work. He saw a better version of Saul than Saul saw for himself.

The Book of Mormon tells a similar story. In Ether 2:14, we see the first Jaredite prophet (referred to as the Brother of Jared) getting a three-hour tongue lashing from Jesus himself. Even as a prophet, he had forgotten to pray meaningfully for a whopping four years, and Jesus wasn’t pleased. But true to Jesus’ nature, He ends his chastisement by telling the Brother of Jared to go to work.

Jesus trusts the Brother of Jared in spite of his missteps. He wants the Brother of Jared to work with Him in creating a way for His people to reach the Promised Land. The Brother of Jared might have worried that he had lost the Lord’s trust altogether, but the Savior had kept that vision of all the prophet could be, even when he wasn’t living up to his potential.

After Alma the Younger is reprimanded for trying to destroy the church, Jesus has a command for him, delivered by an angel: “Arise” (Book of Mormon, Alma 36:8). This injunction brings him to his feet where he can accept the charge to become one of the greatest missionaries of all time. Jesus knew he had it in him.

This same pattern is repeated over and over again throughout scripture with a message that applies to you, too. No matter how poorly your addiction has made you feel about yourself, the Lord sees someone else entirely: the person you can become. He somehow holds that vision, untarnished, in spite of all we may do to dissuade Him from it.

Tell you what you need to hear

The Lord loves us in our sins, but He also loves us too much to leave us there. When He dispersed the vicious crowd surrounding the adulterous woman, He freed her from their judgment. He also assured her that He would not judge her: “Neither do I condemn thee.” But He didn’t leave her in the dirt. He followed with words to help her be happy and whole: “Go, and sin no more.”

The same thing happens in John 5 when the Savior heals a man at the pool of Bethesda. That man had spent 38 years as an invalid, and the Savior mended his legs, but that wasn’t the most important restoration. In verse 14, Jesus finds this man in the temple and tells him, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

If you’re ready to humble yourself and hear the truth, Jesus will show you what needs to be fixed so that you can be liberated, joyful, and peaceful in this life and the next.

Greet you with open arms

When we talk to new admissions at our faith-based drug rehab center, most haven’t prayed in a while. Many don’t feel worthy, but if there’s ever a time when the Lord wants to talk to you, it’s when you’re in sin. And you can expect a warm reception.

Consider the parable of the prodigal son (KJV, Luke 15). The son had rejected his father in every way possible. First, he asked for his inheritance, which essentially signaled that he wanted money more than a relationship with his dad. He then ran headlong toward a life of “riotous living,” wasting hard-earned money and flouting the principles taught in his childhood home.

His father might have been well-justified in rejecting his son in return. Isn’t turnabout fair play? But remember how he greeted his son? First, he saw him “a great way off,” indicating that he’d been standing there, watching and waiting just in case his son decided to return. Then, he ran that long distance and hugged and kissed him. For a son likely fearing his father’s wrath and refusal, imagine how this felt.

Finally, his father gave him a ring, which likely bore the family’s seal. This would have symbolized that he was still worthy of the family name. He dressed him in a robe, reminiscent of the coverings the Lord made for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after their transgression (KJV, Genesis 3:21). This can be interpreted as a symbol of the atonement, which was available to the prodigal son, just as it was for Adam and Eve.

And finally, the father put shoes on his son’s feet. And why did his son need shoes? Potentially because he had been working as a slave. It was the custom at the time to remove a slave’s shoes as soon as he was taken into captivity, making it difficult for him to escape. The restoration of shoes suggests that the son had been ransomed from a life of spiritual captivity.

The Lord is the father in this parable. We are all prodigal sons and daughters. The minute you decide to pray with humility and a desire to change, you can expect a veritable bear hug from the Lord. You can also expect the gifts of finding your identity in Him, receiving forgiveness, and escaping the captivity of addiction with His help.

If you’re sick of trying to beat your addiction on your own, let Jesus in. He is an unchanging being. That means that all those things He did and said in the scriptures are the same things He would do and say if He were right here beside you. Need help getting started? Our Christian-based treatment center has the resources to help you get reacquainted with Jesus.