Step 9

Clueless or Purposeful Recovery?Premium Content

As we bump along in life, we often misunderstand things, especially concerning our recovery. I recently caught a cartoon which captures that reality.

In it, we see Jesus and His disciples on a fishing boat. One disciple is in a festive mood, complete with some castanet shaking. This prompts another disciple's response...

"You idiot. He said cast the nets."

Does this spotlight, once again, our human cluelessness?

Perhaps, rather, it taps into the purposeful recovery-from-addiction meaning in our lives, should we choose to embrace it.

Let's take a gander at the fishy verses...

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What Was I Thinking?

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child... 1 Corinthians 13:11


Many of us, looking back on childhood photos, stare in horror at our various hairstyle and clothing choices. Sometimes, they were made by our family members; sometimes, they were made by us.

Regardless, with hindsight, we reach the conclusion, "what was I thinking?"

Complicating that question further, is the reconciliation/forgiveness/better choices we embark on as we proceed with our lives.

It starts by acknowledging and applying the wrap-around scriptures, encasing 1 Corinthians 13:11...

Finding It Hard to Forgive?

And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
Matthew 6:12

How many times do we pray this portion of what is commonly called "The Lord's Prayer" and yet fail to consider what we're asking? It is a petition, a request of God to forgive us - in the same manner and proportion in which we forgive others. Are you okay with that? Are you comfortable with receiving God's forgiveness to the same extent that you give it to others?

Optical Illusion: Liar?

Recently, on social media, I saw a brain teaser trending. It was an image that, at first glance, looked like a face. It stated, "Share when you see a word," asking us to look beyond this face value.

And, upon doing so, at a certain angle, one can see a dotted "I" where the nose/nostril is, along with an "a" for the mouth and an "r" creating the chin and neck. And starting the entire face, there is an elaborate "L," making up the two eyes.

So, when we spell the face, what word do we get?

Answer: liar.

The face of addiction, right there, ladies and gentlemen.

The old joke asks:
How do you tell if an addict is lying?
Answer: His/her lips are moving.

Talking about Healing: Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.Ephesians 4:29


"Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?" by John Powell (Niles, IL: Argus Communications, 1969) is one of my favorite books.

Powell suggests that people are afraid to tell you who they REALLY are because you may not like them, thus, we reveal ourselves in "levels" or stages: According to him.

The lowest level is cliché.

"Hi, how are you?" "Whazzup?" When you met that special someone, did you really care who he or she was or was it because you had a hidden agenda and maybe did not even know it? Did that first conversation sound something like this? Do you come here often? So you're a whiskey sour lady, let me buy you a drink. 'I thought you was somebody else'.

This level is safe. There is no sharing of the human experience. You do not know anything about me and I don't know anything about you. What you don't know is she might be going through a heated divorce. He could have just got out of prison for armed robbery.

The second level is

Repentance Secures Freedom from ShamePremium Content

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.

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Have You Forgiven Yourself?Premium Content

I remember the first time I forgave myself. It was about four years ago.

I had sinned greatly. Repented deeply. Did everything God called me to here. But I couldn't escape the torment. The weight of the sin was crushing me. I didn't know if I would survive. I didn't understand why.

I went to a dear Christian girlfriend to confess. She listened carefully, prayerfully, and said, "You haven't forgiven yourself."

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Why Am I Stuck In Unforgiveness?Premium Content

I have been on this journey of forgiveness for quite a few years now, and this week, God showed me forgiveness was not at completion. Not for lack of trying, for sure. But still I am shocked at the length and depth of the process.

I do know that some things that God requires us to forgive will be a longer deeper process than other things. If we have been hurt by someone close to us, like a spouse, parent, child, or dear friend, or if the pain has been repeated and protracted, or if the tragedy occurred when we were a child or adolescent, or if the trauma was particularly heinous or the loss very profound, the process of forgiveness will be longer and require more of us.

Like you, I have a number of people and incidences to forgive. I will focus on just one offender right now for simplicity.

I started years ago with the first step of forgiveness: release. Releasing the offender to God.

"Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19

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What Kind of Friend Am I ?

Proverbs 17:17 NRSV
A friend loves at all times,
and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.

Prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit (in the New Testament), those who followed the Lord (predominantly Israelites) had only the capacity for earthly love, not for heavenly or agape love since they loved out of their own ability and not through the spiritual ability of the Spirit. However, there were still higher standards of behavior given. In the Law, the Lord required:

"You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:17-18 NRSV


You shall love your neighbor as yourself. It was this law that was discussed by the lawyer and the Lord Jesus in Luke 10:

Forgetting and ForgivingPremium Content

Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee. Proverbs 20:22

Do not be in a hurry. Let anger cool down. Say nothing and do nothing to avenge yourself. You will be sure to act unwisely if you take up the club and fight your own battles; and, certainly, you will not show the spirit of the Lord Jesus. It is more noble to forgive and let the offense pass. To let an injury burn inside and to think about revenge is to keep old wounds open and to make new ones. It is better to forget and forgive.

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