So, Anthony Weiner lost his bid for New York City mayor. This comes as no surprise to anyone. You can read about the craziness that ensued after the race was over, including him flipping off some reporters. Weiner shot himself in the foot more times than I can remember and was the punching bag for all the late night comedians (Letterman, Leno, Fallon, Conan, etc.). Everyone made fun of him, and most people (like me) were shocked that he did not remove himself from the race.
After his first scandal a couple of years ago, I figured he just messed up—stayed up too late one night, maybe had one too many drinks and did something stupid. When he decided to run for mayor, I knew he really didn’t have a shot (even though I believe in grace and second chances). But when new scandals started to emerge and we came to realize that he was still messing up, it dawned on me that he is a sex addict. This, my friends, is no laughing matter. He’s sick. I mean that sincerely. He’s a sick man (mentally—there’s a chemical imbalance in his brain) and he needs help.
Anthony Weiner doesn’t need anyone around him telling him that how he acts is okay. He needs no encouragement in the sexual realm. What he needs is a true friend to look him in the eye and say, “Let’s get you help, buddy.” He needs to go to a recovery center and be in serious therapy for a year or more. This is what he NEEDS. I’m not sure if he’ll hit rock bottom and reach out for help or what his future holds. Right now, I know his world is spinning out of control.
As a pastor, over the years and even currently, I’ve worked with a ton of addicts. I’ve helped people find freedom. I’ve taken people through small group studies on addiction and freedom, Celebrate Recovery, one on one discipleship and I’ve promoted organizations like People of the Second Chance and XXXChurch. I think they are great resources and I highly recommend them.
In the last year, I’ve helped people with addictions to pornography, sex addiction, alcoholism, gambling, food addiction, ecstasy and marijuana. You name it, I’ve pretty much seen it and been to the lowest of lows with people helping them back on the road to recovery and freedom. Right now I have three alcoholics that I’m working with and praying for. One goes to AA (and I’m so proud of him and have tremendous hope for him), the other two don’t go to AA and think they can beat it on their own. As you can imagine, I don’t have as much hope for them.
Addiction is powerful and it’s ripping our nation, schools and churches apart. What can we do? First: Stop making fun of them and offer them a helping hand. Second: Take the shame out of someone confessing a struggle. At my church we say, “No perfect people allowed.” Our church is for messed up, jacked up people. The worse they are, the more we want them to come. We need to remove the stigma of “your sin is worse than my sin” and be a place of healing and hope for those that are at their worst.
If you’ve ever made an Anthony Weiner joke, ask for forgiveness from God. Anthony Weiner is precious to God, and we need to pray for him. In churches all across America, there sit people struggling with any number of addictions. We need to be sources of hope, inspiration, grace, healing and forgiveness. This is why we exist!
When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Matthew 9:11-13 (NIV)