“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty» (Galatians 5: 13).
One of the heaviest burdens of all addictions is the withdrawal syndrome which is a set of painful symptoms which occur due to the lack of the drug or behavior. This is the case of the smoker who tries to achieve his goal of quitting smoking. He immediately finds that it not so easy to do. He suffers headaches, nausea, fatigue, lack of concentration, discouragement, cravings for sugary or high-calorie foods, and, of course, an intense desire to smoke. The same happens to addictive behaviors. For example, when the person hooked to soap operas makes the decision to stop watching, missing some of the episodes of the TV show would cause inner tension, irritation, anxiety and even signs of depression, apart from the strong temptation to go back in front of the TV. These are withdrawal symptoms or the barriers that place themselves against the freedom of addictions.
Freedom is one of the most precious gifts. Nations throughout history have continuously looked for it, sometimes shedding so much blood in their desire to regain and reclaim it. In any case, it is about an uncertain and imperfect freedom. Today’s text reminds us that we, as God’s children, are called to freedom—a reliable and authentic freedom that comes from Jesus (John 8:36).
But is it enough to simply grant freedom? Imagine a convict who is granted pardon. Already out and free, he is overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude and it reassures him to know that he can start a new life. At the same time, the thought of his old habits gives him shivers because he acknowledges that he could relapse and go back to prison. This would be our situation if Jesus did not free and protect us from the things that threaten our freedom. This should be the thought of every one of us who deals with withdrawal symptoms.
«Behold, I am against your magic charms by which you hunt souls there like birds. I will tear them from your arms, and let the souls go, the souls you hunt like birds. I will also tear of your veils and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall no longer be as prey in your hand. Then you shall know that I am the Lord» (Ezek. 13:20, 21). What a magnificent declaration from the Lord! Even if the message is aimed at false prophets, it can also apply to the agents and circumstances that promote addictions.
Today, remember that although the traps that are going to enslave us are very strong, our Creator is infinitely more powerful and He will free us from the bondage of sin and addictions.