Awareness of addiction in the church has grown in recent years, but it is still found to be lacking within many church communities. Some churches can still be found to treat addiction like leprosy. There is nothing they have to say about it other than to get rid of it. But this does not accurately reflect the stance that the whole Christian community takes on addiction. Many other churches know that addiction is as common as it is because it is a powerful and legitimate foe. These churches approach the subject of addiction with a healthy level of respect, awareness and sympathy.
Presently, the modern church is divided on the matter of how to approach addiction. The church has historically been very willing to label addiction as sin, and qualify it as a punishable behavior. Many conservative churches still follow this approach to addiction, which is quickly becoming antiquated and inappropriate. The more modern, progressive church is willing to acknowledge how prevalent addiction is and treat it like a disease or a disorder rather than simply a sinful lifestyle. They also accept the accuracy of the statistics that reflect how many congregation members are likely to struggle with addiction.
In the future, it is the hope of this blogger that addiction will continue to be addressed as a common and widespread problem so that church members can have real dialogue about it. There are so many congregation members who would benefit from addiction being not only an acceptable thing to discuss openly within the church, but also being a forgivable thing to their church community. If addicts felt safe within the church universally, there would be far more progress made in the lives of addicts because they would more readily have the support they needed from their community. Hopefully the church will continue to recognize the need for addiction support and discussion within the church to be an inclusive organization.