President Donald Trump has declared the opioid crisis a national health emergency, and it’s time for Christians to use love and the teachings of Jesus Christ against this unholy epidemic.
The opioid crisis stands as one of the worst plagues on good-hearted everyday Americans in modern times. It knows no bounds, no race, no creed, no social standing, and no economic circumstance. It destroys the lives of friends, family and community members that people would never expect to fall into addiction.
One of the major problems with opioid addiction is that it isn’t necessarily a street drug bought in back alleys and on corners. It can simply start with pain and often a doctor’s prescription. Today, more people are losing their lives to opioid addiction than cancer and gun violence combined. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 91 die people every day from opioids, and there may be far more unreported deaths. The president, a Born-Again Christian, has called for action and people of Faith may be the key to winning this war.
Thankfully, many Christian solutions to this crisis already exist.
What Is Faith-Based Rehabilitation?
Studies have revealed that rehabilitation programs with a religious foundation show significantly better success rates than their secular counterparts. That’s because addictions such as the opioid epidemic start with a single common denominator: pain.
Although secular rehabilitation centers approach drug addiction with a good heart and strong conviction to force this disease into remission, counseling and alternative prescriptions can only carry a person so far. The pain users experience may start with a broken bone or an injured back, but the opioid pills work to relieve other, deeper pains that everyday people experience.
These could be family stress, financial burdens or emotional trauma among others. Psychology and modern medicine may be able to place a Band-Aid on that discomfort, but they cannot address the profound day-to-day sense of anxiety and loneliness. Faith-based programs utilize the traditional scientific methods, but add God into the healing mix. Recovery requires a healing of the mind, body and spirit.
How Does Gospel Rehabilitation Work?
A Gospel-centered rehabilitation program teaches people techniques that can help free them from addiction. These programs blend things such as detox and one-on-one counseling with pastors, nuns and other integral members of the church. The point of these sessions is to unveil the underlying reasons the person turned to drugs as a crutch and begin to lean on the Teaching of Jesus Christ as a guide to a clean and sober lifestyle.
Recovering addicts are encouraged and helped to connect with the moral guidance found in the New Testament, and apply those spiritual ideas to their daily lives. Understanding and connecting with God’s love provides a foundation for those in treatment to stand on.
Beyond getting the poison out of their system, addicts often learn to reconnect with family members and loved ones. Perhaps the worst thing that opioid addiction does is destroys the bonds of love. Family is a central aspect of God’s love, and the Gospel empowers fallen members to stand back up and rebuild bridges with spouses, siblings, parents, grandparents and extended family members. Many find that those bonds were never broken, only strained by the impact the drugs had on their relationships. Rekindling family love has a powerful and long-term effect on recovery. Everyday Christians need to embrace wayward family members as they pull themselves upright.
But, faith-based programs take even more initiative than short-term Bible study and support. Churches and faith-based groups organize ongoing meetings where recovering addicts can come and talk about sobriety and the challenges they face in ordinary life. These are sometimes discussed in the context of Jesus’ teachings or simple pragmatic terms. The point of these long-standing meetings isn’t the same as seeing to a therapist with a degree framed on the wall each week. These Christian programs are in place to foster Fellowship.
Uniting Under Christ
By uniting together in a set of common beliefs, recovering community members suddenly experience a vast support system of like-hearted people. The person’s network is filled with love, understanding, support and commitment under the banner of Jesus Christ. Being involved in Christian rehabilitation, therefore, puts love and support resources in place to address the spiritual pain that led to addiction in the first place.
Everyday Christians can do their part by lending assistance and support to church-led programs and showing true Christian love for those finding their way back.
~ 1776 Christian