The CrossRoads Journal

Substantial Healing

If you’ve had the chance to attend a Made for More group at CrossRoads, you’ve heard about the concept of substantial healing, which simply means that we can experience substantial healing, but will never be completely healed this side of Heaven. As an addictions counselor and a believer, I have wrestled with this messy concept for years. Aware of the brokenness in my own story, I am now convinced addictions – and all repetitive and harmful behaviors that we turn to – grow out of our experience of a severely broken world. If I zoom out far enough in someone’s story, their behaviors and struggles will eventually make sense. As a result, I have a lens through which I don’t have to condemn or judge “bad choices” in my life or the lives of others. Rather, I can relentlessly look at myself and others through the eyes of Jesus, Who loves us while always offering us the “more” for which we were made.

I have found I am loved by a Father who runs out to me while I’m still covered in pig slop. I am seen by a Savior who knows I am caught in a devastating pattern of sin. His mercy and kindness lead to my repentance, not His discipline (though he does that eventually in His love). As Christians, we have experienced the healing love of our Savior and have this unique relationship as fuel for us to care for and reduce the devastation of the fall in people’s stories and lives. We have been adopted – through no merit of our own – into a remarkable family and have been reunited to our Dad and Brother. In the words of Johann Hari, “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety – the opposite of addiction is connection.” We can offer struggling and hurting people an opportunity for connection just as they are.