Imagine that you’re in the Holy Land.
As you walk through the Stephen’s Gate in Jerusalem, you come to an ancient courtyard with flowers and foliage right beside the present-day Saint Anne’s Church. Built by the Crusaders in 1138, it’s one of the most beautiful churches in Jerusalem. If you take a few more steps, you’ll see deep pits with ancient, stone walls—the Pools of Bethesda.
Go Back to Bethesda
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the Greek word “Bethesda” means “house of mercy.” After all, it was here that Jesus healed a disabled man. The locals believed a legend that an angel of God would stir the waters at the Pools of Bethesda. And the first person to get into the pool would be healed.
When Jesus came to the pool, He saw a man who had been disabled for thirty-eight years and asked him, “Would you like to get well?” (John 5:6).
The man, of course, thought that he wanted to get well. Yet, he made excuses and replied: “I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me” (vs. 7).
Like the disabled man, Jesus turns to us and asks, “Do you want to overcome your addiction?” Perhaps you eat normally when you’re around other people, but gorge when you’re alone. Or maybe you’ve battled with an addiction to prescription drugs for years that has all but taken your life.
You want your life to be better, right? But if you keep making excuses, you’ll never get help. We can make excuses, or we can let God heal us; however, we can’t do both.
Stop Making Excuses
Here are the top excuses for not getting help, and the truth that will set you free:
Excuse #1: I don’t need help.
Truth: It’s easy to think you’re in control and can stop at any time. But if you try to stop and can’t, it’s because the addiction has power over you and has enslaved you (See 1 Cor. 6:12).
Excuse #2: I’m afraid of what people will think.
Truth: Fear of man never comes from God; it will hurt you and keep you from finding freedom (See 2 Timothy 1:7, Proverbs 29:25).
Excuse #3: It’s hopeless…
Truth: You may feel hopeless to overcome an addiction and ready to throw in the towel. Instead, you can choose to put your trust in Christ (See Isaiah 40:31).
Excuse #4: I’m not hurting anyone.
Truth: Since relationships are based on trust, having an addiction will slowly corrode all of your relationships. On top of that, you’ll grieve the Holy Spirit as a result (See Ephesians 4:30).
Excuse #5: I like doing it.
Truth: Sure, an addiction is very alluring and seems like a lot of fun. But the end result is death and destruction (See Romans 6:23, Hebrews 11:25).
Excuse #6: I’ll get help later.
Truth: You say you’ll get help in the future, but tomorrow may never come. There’s no better time than the present to get help (See 2 Cor. 6:2).
Excuse #7: I’ve tried to get help, but it didn’t work.
Truth: Recovery takes a lot of work. Even after you get help, you’ll still struggle with temptation and might even relapse. What you do have control over is whether or not you decide to get back up again after a fall (See Psalm 37:23-24).
Excuse #8: Everyone does it.
Truth: There’s a lot of other people struggling with addictions. You alone, though, are responsible for your actions (See Galatians 6:5).
Excuse #9: I can’t afford to get help.
Truth: Many treatment centers and counselors should be willing to work with you. Keep in mind that if you don’t get help and continue in your addiction, you’ll pay a steep price anyways—financially, emotionally, and spiritually (See Proverbs 27:12).
Excuse #10: I can do it on my own.
Truth: The bottom line is this: You’ve tried to do it on your own but failed. So, you must get help from others (See James 5:16).
If you want to overcome an addiction, it begins with a willingness to get help. So once you let go of the excuses and get help, you will be on the road to recovery.
Pick Up Your Mat and Walk!
Remember the Pools of Bethesda? How fitting it was for it to be called “house of mercy” after God’s outpouring of grace. Because it was there that the Lord met a disabled man in the midst of his pain and healed him by saying: “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
If you’re in pain right now as the result of an addiction, God longs to meet you where you are.
Now is the time to “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk.”