Question:

There are many things I notice in our church, which I feel propelled to address, but I am not sure what to say, or how to approach my pastor. I really don't want him to think I'm forward. I just need to get your take on the situation before I approach him.

There's this lady in our church whose husband is a heroin addict. She says she was also an addict but is delivered, and I believe she doesn't use. Apparently they met in rehab a few years ago. My problem is this couple seems to have the entire church wrapped around their little finger. People constantly are praying for them. For two years these two people has been the center of attention. Everyone is constantly helping them: with finances, giving jobs to the husband but he always quits because of his addiction, praying in front of the whole congregation for the deliverance of the addict husband, etc.; yet the husband is constantly relapsing. The longest he has stayed clean was two months.

One day our pastor told me that he doesn't understand why people in our church don't receive deliverance after all the prayers they are continuously receiving. I made no comment because I don't have a solution as of yet. My thought is: if the pastor is questioning why they not being delivered, how much more will the new believers question? I'm concerned about the faith of the new believers. I'm concerned that people like the addicted man and his enabling wife can really leave new Christians doubting the power of God.

How can I approach this matter?


Answer:

Like many people, the members at the church you are attending believe that God will force a person to change against their will. They pray to God, but they do nothing about the real problem. Oh, I understand, they give the couple help, but the core problem isn't their poverty, it is what is bringing them to poverty. Until the addiction is addressed, the leeching will continue. "The leech has two daughters - Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, four never say, "Enough!": The grave, the barren womb, the earth that is not satisfied with water - and the fire never says, "Enough!"" (Proverbs 30:15-16).

God doesn't take away a person's free will. God doesn't make anyone do what is right, so praying for God to go against His principles is fruitless. "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13). God wants you to live righteously. He teaches us how to live righteously. But He also wants us to choose righteousness over our own desires.

Help people when they come out of addiction, but stand firm when they fall back into it. Insist that they first get treatment, but while they remain in sin (and using drugs is a sin) simply state that they cannot be a part of the church. Most people refuse to see the need for such discipline. They rather tell themselves that at least they are coming to services. However, read I Corinthians 5-6 and you quickly realize that sin uncorrected spreads and brings a church down.

I have a friend whom I have worked with for many years. I've told him upfront that if he remains sober, I will give him help, but if I suspect that he is using, I will have him drug tested and all help will stop until he goes through rehab. I don't know how many cycles we have gone through, but he knows I'll be there for him if he chooses to live righteously. And I've caught him when he slips back into drugs. Sometimes I lose him for several years, but eventually he goes back to rehab and then he contacts me and we start again. This last time I was impressed. It only took him a week to put himself back into rehab after I caught him. He's not well, but he is trying and that is what is important. I don't regret the efforts I make on his behalf when he is sober. It brings me sorrow when he relapses. But always the focus is getting him to heaven and not making his way to hell smoother.

I thank God for you. Thank you, I now know how to approach our pastor.