Religioholism

Erik Cooper —  November 9, 2011 — Leave a comment

We mask our pain and brokenness in so many different ways.

Alcohol abuse.

Relational isolation.

Workaholism.

Illicit sex.

Prescription drugs.

Illegal drugs.

Emotional numbing.

Fill in your blank ____________________.

Government agencies, fortune 500 companies, and famous college football programs aren’t the only ones that get extremely creative with their cover-ups.

I’m far from a clinical expert, but from my decade-plus experience as a local pastor, I can safely say I’ve never met anyone who struggles with alcohol or substance abuse that doesn’t have some underlying brokenness they need to address. Healthy, confident people at peace with themselves and with God don’t usually find themselves nursing a 12 pack alone on the couch, puking in random trash cans, or waking up in a half-baked haze of regret.

(Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).

But there’s one way we can cover our brokenness that’s much more stealth. Complex. Scary to call out.

I think some of us tote God around like a fifth of vodka.

I like to call it religioholism.

Religioholics have never allowed Christ to do a deep, transforming work in their lives. They never let Him heal at the core. They simply move their unfaced issues to a new home, a christian culture, and before long the same dysfunctions start expressing themselves all over again. Except now they’re wearing spiritual clothing.

Fears and insecurities, perhaps once managed by booze, can also emerge in God-speak and religious packaging. Control. Dominance. Performance. Self-protection. Judgmentalism. Condescension. Condemnation. They may not land you a DUI, but you’re definitely heading for a wreck.

Dealing with sin at the root is incredibly scary. Incredibly costly. So most of us choose to manage it. Hide it. Tuck it away. It’s easier to pretend than to repent. But be careful. Religion can be as tempting a place to hide as a glass of whiskey. And perhaps more dangerous. (Ask the Pharisees).

Here’s the Good News: Jesus wants to deal with your crap. Eliminate it. Rip it out at the roots. He’s already done the hard work. Not to manage your brokenness in some new religious packaging, but to heal the broken places altogether. If you can just find the courage to let Him. Freedom can be a scary place.

Do you know any religioholics? Are you one?

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