There is a certain level of insanity to all sin. It is easier to see in some places than others, but it touches all of us. The addict gives a clear picture of sin’s insanity. Addiction leaves family and friends scratching their heads, searching for answers. At the behavioral level, secularists and Christians agree it is difficult to make sense of: Why would a person choose over and over again something that brings destruction to their life? There are moments of clarity in the life of the addict where he would agree that his decisions make no sense. At other times, in the fog, he justifies and maintains that his addiction is no big deal.
I was once caught in the throes of addiction. Today it is a joy to teach others where freedom is found. In response to this characterization, of the insanity of addiction, one fellow struggler exclaimed, “You mean I am crazy!” to which I replied, “Yes, but it is a whole lot worse than that.”
If our problems were merely a manifestation of being a little “off” mentally, sorting them out would be simpler. In reality, addiction is more than a mental disorder, just as sin is more than being cognitively “off.” Does addiction include disordered thinking? Yes. Are some mental problems not sinful? Yes. But, ultimately, all problems arise from a fracture that occurred in the universe during the early part of mankind’s existence. All human brokenness is a product of the Fall.
God created the heavens and the earth to bring Himself glory. He created man in His image to worship Him and reflect Him on earth. Mankind lived under the authority of God, meaning God cared for, protected, provided for and directed man as His representative on earth. Sin entered the world when mankind rebelled against God’s command, a command intended to preserve life rather than hinder it. This is an insane choice: rebelling against the loving Creator who is the source of all love and goodness, choosing certain death over life. From that choice flowed every form of disorder, disease, disorientation, decay, dissatisfaction, difficulty, dysfunction and death. The enslaving interplay of sin and suffering is now in full swing.
Some get a front row seat to the destruction, but most of us just experience a low-grade irritability, restlessness and discontent. This lack of peace testifies that something is wrong, that we long for resolution, rescue, relief and restoration. The fact that man would rebel against God initially is insane, but equally as silly are man’s continuing vain attempts to fix the problem.
The first human “fix” for the discontent of sin was fig leaves, but now, fixes take many forms. For the addict it might be a bottle, a pill, a pipe, a needle. But for the average person it might be a trip to the mall, a croissant, an angry outburst, another person, an attempt to recreate ourselves or try harder. Where do you turn to fix the problem?
Many times we turn to things that were created as good (rest, sex, food, relationships) and they become idols or objects of our misguided worship. Sometimes God gives us over to these idols physically, mentally and spiritually. The result is addiction and slavery.
Slaves Redeemed, Sanity Restored
But God redeems from slavery. Redemption is freedom purchased through a ransom paid for on behalf of the enslaved. True redemption is found in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. He has purchased our freedom from the bondage of sin and decay by giving His life as a ransom. God has provided a remedy to the insanity of sin.
We can readily see the insanity of sin in addiction. Maybe we can even see it in more grievous sins such as murder and adultery. But can we also see the insanity of more subtle or hidden sins of the heart—lusting for that which is not ours (physically or emotionally), coveting, greed, grudges, gossip or resistance to authority? Can we see the insanity of placing our hope in our performance, position, people around us, prosperity, physique, possessions, etc.?
Ultimately, all sin is insanity, rebellion against God that originates from the heart, leading only to slavery and death. All of our attempts to remedy the problem apart from Christ are futile. We just trade one form of slavery for another. But there is grace. We can humble ourselves, repent of the insanity and trust in Christ to restore us. Only His grace returns us to right thinking and right desires. May the grace of the gospel permeate the hearts and minds of His people.