Should addicts be held responsible for their crimes?

BibleAsk Team

Although an addict has less tendency to do what is right, he should still be responsible for what he does especially crimes when he is under the influence. For this reason he must seek medical help as soon as possible to avoid harm to himself and to others. In a 1999 armed robbery case, the judge stated about addicts the following: “Self-induced addiction at an age of rational choice establishes moral culpability for the predictable consequences of that choice.”

In life, part of maturing character is taking responsibility for oneself. The difference between a child and a man is his willingness to take personal responsibility for his actions. As Paul says, “When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (1 Corinthians 13:11). The Bible teaches the concept of personal responsibility for addicts: “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them” (Ezekiel 18:20).

Personal responsibility is closely related to the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7–8). “Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done” (Isaiah 3:10–11). At times, addicts try to avoid personal responsibility, usually through blame-shifting. Ultimately, these attempts are futile “You may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

The Lord offers addicts total deliverance and hope. Jesus declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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