Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
Sin & Suffering are Intermingled
Desiring God: Who is your book Redemption written for?
Mike Wilkerson: It is written especially for those dealing with life-dominating troubles like addictions or wounds of abuse, past or present. But each of these categories are instances of the larger categories of sin and suffering, to which we can all relate, even if our experiences vary in degree. For example, I know people who have benefited greatly from the book who have dealt with domestic violence, unwanted singleness, an eating disorder, depression, homosexuality, and chronic pain, to name a few.
Dealing with Sin & Suffering
DG: Your book addresses both the sins we commit and the suffering we encounter in life, both the abuses and addictions that hit us. How are these two themes connected?
MW: I’ll answer theologically first, and then practically.
First John 5:19 says “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Abuse and addiction are both devastating forms that evil takes. Abuse happens when an evildoer harms, betrays, or violates an innocent. Addiction happens when we make a habit of giving in to evil desires, when we volunteer for slavery to evil. Evil thus unleashed in either case does what it always does: it corrupts, disintegrates, contaminates, and unravels what God created good. In the case of abuse, certainly the abuse victim is wounded and defiled, but also the abuser corrupts himself or herself. In addiction, the addict corrupts himself, but also brings chaos and pain into the lives of many loved ones who suffer in the wake of the addict’s folly.
The solution for enslavement to sin and its effects—both the sin we commit and the sins committed against us—is the same: redemption in Jesus.
Also, suffering brings temptation. Abuse can send devastating aftershocks of pain rippling throughout one’s life: emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. Pain demands a response. How will we deal with pain? Our world offers many escapes, many means for coping, and many ways to hide. Sometimes in our flight from pain, we form sinful habits for dealing with pain that, before you know it, have become full-blown addictions.
Practically, this is what we have observed in our counseling at Mars Hill where I am a pastor. Often, those who have been abused, develop sinful habits of life: sometimes a more typical addiction like alcoholism and other times a different sin pattern like sexual promiscuity or people-pleasing.
Similarly, when those with addictions unpack their life stories, they often reveal how they’ve suffered in traumatic ways like rape, physical abuse, tragic losses, betrayals, or social ridicule.
Conclusion: we are all sinner-sufferers. Our sins and our sufferings are quite often inter-mingled and influence each other. The solution for enslavement to sin and its effects—both the sin we commit and the sins committed against us—is the same: redemption in Jesus.
To be continued...
For more from Mike Wilkerson check out his Re:lit book, Redemption, where he dives into the Exodus events and how the gospel is the centerpiece to counseling.