Accountability

Do You Have a Pinocchio Nose?

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper. But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13

Pinocchio - the adorable little story about a marionette who wants to become a real boy. It touches on this real theme, as well as the power of dreaming and the ability to love.

And yes, there's also the lesson about lying, hence Pinocchio's growing nose every time he tells a fib.

And that reminds me about the often chaotic journey of recovery when it comes to our addictions, compulsions and issues.

A lot of us having growing noses, don't we?

Addiction - related issues are subtle, tricky things which seem to sneak up on us from "out of nowhere." A lot of us may not look "the type." We may not look like such creatures as an alcoholic, a drug addict or a person struggling with eating disorders. We may appear to have "normal" looking noses, so to speak.

Do You Embrace Everything that is Permissible?

In the past two weeks, I've become aware of two pastors (same denomination, different churches) who are wallowing in self-pity and self-indulgence. Both claim depression and overwhelming personal pain. One used the term "burned out." A Christian who is "burned out?" Who cannot go on in ministry or service for the Lord? Oh . . . my . . . goodness!

On the one hand, I'm angry at these brothers. How dare they, as servants of the Lord and leaders within the Church, be so self-centered as to put their own desires ahead of the desires of the Lord? And, on the other hand, I'm filled with pity for these men who are so deluded in their beliefs that they can justify "crises of faith," doubt as it were, without feeling the least tinge of remorse or fear of God's judgment. (And if they are fearful, not fearful enough to turn back to the narrow path.)

"Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13

Are You Reactionary or Reflective?

Proverbs 20:5 NRSV
The purposes in the human mind are like deep water,
but the intelligent will draw them out.


As believers, we should ask ourselves whether we are reactionary or reflective? When someone is reactionary, they depend upon their reactions to circumstances or their emotions to make decisions. They have difficulty acting in a prescribed or strategic manner, but rather respond to the situation around them. When someone is reflective, they are self-aware and able to make deliberate decisions based on an outside source (the Word); they are able to withstand influences that come from others or even from their own emotions.

As believers, we need to be reflective. We need to know ourselves, to know what makes us tick, to know what pushes our buttons, and then, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to respond differently than we are inclined. We need to choose our behaviors, rather than allowing ourselves to be pushed and pulled by the circumstance of the moment.

James tells us that there are those believers who cannot control themselves and that this loss of control is due to doubting:

The one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. James 1:6-8 NRSV

I agree! When we don't have a solid idea of where we are headed (heaven) or what we want (God's will), we will have a tendency to react to circumstances, rather than being reflective and making decisions based on what we have learned from the Word and from the Holy Spirit.

Denial: Trying to Disguise the Truth

What Cracker?

He who covers his sins will not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Denial: it's a ridiculous looking thing.

I once saw a photograph of a mouse, looking straight at the camera, cheeks puffed out to a Saltine's square shape. And the tag line attached was "What cracker?"

It made me think of my own erratic disordered eating behaviors, including stealing my roommates' food and dumpster diving.

"...I thought I was hiding my secret well from the outside world. I replenished the food I'd stolen from my roommates. I played ‘beat the clock' before they came home to notice...

...It became a regular hide and steal, hide and eat, hide and deny game... I knew their schedules by heart. I'd wait for them to leave for class. I'd hurry home, skipping my own classes to ensure enough time alone... I had to eat as much as I could before they came home...

... I'd be first to volunteer among my roommates to take out the trash, because I knew what ‘goodies' I'd thrown out...

...Trips to the dumpster at 2:30 a.m. were not unusual... I'd rummage through other people's trash bags...

...I was caught on more than one occasion. I'd try to play it off, pretending everything was normal as people passed by me scrounging in the dumpster. As I became more desperate, however, I began going to the dumpster frequently in broad daylight while other students were coming and going from class... I tried to convince myself I could ‘just act natural' and disguise the truth..."

I was asking, "What Cracker?"

Death of an Innocent

I went to a party, Mom. I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead.
I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would.
I didn't drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should.
I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right.

Now the party is finally ending, Mom, as everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I'd get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me, so responsible and sweet.
I started to drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road,
The other car didn't see me, Mom, and hit me like a load.

As I lay there on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say,
The other guy is drunk, Mom, and now I'm the one who will pay.
I'm lying here dying, Mom. I wish you'd get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a balloon.

There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom, I'll die in a short time.
I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn't drink.
It was the others, Mom. The others didn't think.
He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank and I will die...

Hard to Make Ends Meet? Your Budget is the Plan!

1. A budget is nothing more than a plan for saving and spending money. It includes where the money will come from and how much to expect, as well as what expenses that same money will be used to meet. A good budget takes care of all the regular and important bills — like rent or mortgage, utilities, food, gasoline and insurance — and allows for the unexpected or occasional expenses.

2. With budgeting, when the paycheck comes in, the family already knows how much of this check needs to be set aside to meet the bills coming due, and how much is available for extras — perhaps dinner out and a movie. Everything is planned for and covered.

3. To live without a budget often leads to short-sighted decisions:
"If I have money right now, I can spend it right now. So if I want new clothes today, and I have the money today, why not spend it? The rent isn’t due until next week, so I’ll worry about that then.”

What are Your Choices?

There is an old proverb which says, "We would all be rich, if we didn't have to eat." This is simply another way of saying that we all have priorities, and we make our choices in terms of them.

Some men choose to be miserly on food, clothing, and shelter, because they value money so highly. They may like their family, but they love money more, and so they sacrifice everything to accumulate money. Others sacrifice for their children, and everything else takes second place in their lives.

Many other examples could be cited, but we can summarize it thus: we are always making choices, consciously or unconsciously, in terms of what we prize or love the most. Our choices reveal our faith.

Repentance Secures Freedom from Shame

Warning: the following will mess you up. Allow Holy Spirit to lead and guide you into all the truth concerning 'repentance'. This is a critical piece of The Message: that we believe the Gospel of Grace!

"The guilt and shame that is always associated with repentance causes this great gift to be, almost universally, thought of in a negative light and resisted rather than embraced as it should be and will be when seen correctly. " (Clark Whitten, Pure Grace - page 98).

"Repentance is the most mis-translated word in the New Testament" (Broudus). It means to change one's mind in light of new truthful information. This is the process by which believers have our minds transformed. When the truth of the finished work of Christ challenges religious mindsets, repentance allows one to embrace the new and discard the old.

By this process we grow up into the fullness of Christ. The mixture gospel taught by the vast majority of evangelicals reduces the glorious gift of repentance to a tool of behavior modification. Truth embraced will always produce freedom and correct Jesus-like thinking! The truth is--Believers are the righteousness of God (In Christ) or we are not righteous at all.

Do You "Prompty Admit It" When You are Wrong?

The very first time that
I ever saw and read all the 12 Steps,
I have to say that it really was love at first sight.
It was like, Wow! Where have you been all my life?
I simply fell in love with the 12 Steps,
and since that first time, I have gone from
strength to strength and never really looked back.

I do recollect that the step which caught my
attention most of all that very first time, was Step 10.
And the phrase in Step 10, which caught my attention
was "promptly admitted it"

For years I had grown up and been around adults
who found it very hard to admit they were wrong.
In fact I don't re-call any adult relatives as I was

Am I Guilty of Self-prescribing Medications or Substitution?

Obviously, all legal drugs and medications have legitimate uses to relieve pain or aid healing. They can very beneficial when prescribed by licensed professionals.

We, as recovering addicts/alcoholics, certainly are not qualified to dispense medications. We are equally unqualified to tell those who need medications not to try to help themselves. We can only advise them through our experiences. In a sense, all of us have tried to dispense medication to ourselves. We’ve been self-prescribing chemicals, smoke, and liquids to ourselves from the day we first picked up until we began our recovery programs. In fact, I believe that some addicts/alcoholics can get addicted to “the idea of taking something.” The simple act of inhaling, injecting, or swallowing can give, at least in their minds, some degree of relief emotionally, psychologically, and or mentally.

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