MT 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and
ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with
tax collectors and `sinners'?"
MT 9:12 On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But
go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Most of us who have struggled with an addiction have had to wear it like a badge of shame but we must
understand that in most cases it is our very weaknesses, pain, and shortcomings that end up leading us to God in the end to
receive His help. We would like to think that we would just come to God out of a desire to know Him, but for many of us we
usually cry out to God only because we are facing an impossible situation and we desperately need Him to step in and help
us. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but rather a good thing. I would much rather go to heaven because of an impossible
addiction problem, rather than to go to hell with no problems in my life.
LK 7:47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has
been forgiven little loves little."
Another benefit that comes from living with an addiction problem and receiving God's help and mercy
is that we are normally more humble, loving, and compassionate toward others who are struggling as we were. People that have
never really faltered in life tend to be more prideful and judgmental toward other people with more of a problem in some area
than they have. If you have ever overdosed, been hospitalized or incarcerated, lost your family friends or job, or went through
terrible withdrawals or consequences because of your addiction, then you know how painful and humiliating these things can
be, and rather than condemning someone who is going through it you are more likely to love and help them. Addiction makes
us sick in just about every way possible and the only Doctor around that can really help us is Jesus Christ.
LK 18:9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus
told this parable: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee
stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even
like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
LK 18:13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat
his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
LK 18:14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone
who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
I want to encourage you today that the very addiction that has been your stumbling block can one day
be turned into a stepping stone to help other people find God's help. We live in a world that is experiencing an epidemic
of addiction right now and who do you think God wants to use to help them? That's right, someone that He has helped to get
free from it just like you. Not only can you share your experience with them to give them hope, but you can also pray for
them and see God do great miracles in their lives to set them free. So my friend, just remember that God knew exactly what
it would take to lead you to Him and even through you may have struggled with a terrible addiction in life, God can bring
good out of it by not only setting you free, but also by saving you and using you to go and to help others.
MT 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are