“Hi, My name is Rob, and I’m an addict.”
If you have ever attended a Celebrate Recovery or AA-type recovery meeting, this is the way everyone introduces themselves to the others in the meeting. On the one hand, this greeting tells everyone that this is a safe place, a place where everyone has issues, and you don’t need to hide or be ashamed. We’re all in the same boat, together.
On the other hand, it is also a very regular admission to others (and yourself) that you have an issue – an addiction, a habitual sin, a weakness in an area of your life. It is humbling. It is freeing. It is scary. For once, the Christian pretense that we all live under is gone – “I’m okay”, “things are fine”, “we are good” – these catch phrases no longer cut it. You are exposed for what you really are, at your core – a sinner saved by grace. There is something oh so liberating about the truth. There is something also liberating about admitting it, and fellowshipping with brothers/sisters who also admit it, and that they are desperate for the power and presence of Christ in their lives – or they are doomed.
Where did we go wrong? When did it happen? How have we come so far from the standard Jesus set for us when he walked the earth. Several times in the Book of John, Jesus tells us that “he can do nothing” in his own strength, and that he was completely dependent on his Father’s voice, wisdom, strength and revelation. He lived in continual communion with the Father, and showed us how we too are suppose to live. He reminds us (John 15:5) that he is the vine (the source of life for us) and we are the branches, and that without him (his life flowing in and through us) we can do “nothing”. Yes, the word is “nothing” – nada, zip, nil, squat.
But, somehow, somewhere, we have believed the lie that we “can do something”. We go to church, we attend small group or Sunday school, we fellowship with other believers – and we pretend everything and everyone is okay. We hide behind the lie that admitting weakness or having need somehow lessens our spiritual credibility, or status and that we should always be strong in the Lord, and more than conquerors in the eyes of our colleagues. How’s things? How’s your marriage, your job, your kids? Our pat answer? ……..”Fine”.
We’re all fine. Our marriage is on the rocks, our kids are rebelling and we are scared out of our minds, our job stinks and we wish we had another one, and reading the Bible and praying aren’t really a priority with us anymore……but, we’re fine. Everyone is fine, so it makes us feel even worse for admitting that we are not fine….so we play along. Then one day you get a call, or email from a friend telling us someone at church, or in our small group, is getting a divorce – and we are totally shocked. I thought they were “fine”.
The truth is – we are all addicts. We are, by nature, addicted to ourselves. We wake up every morning and our default switch in flipped to the “me” position. Life is about me, my goals, my needs, my wants, my plans, etc. The vast majority of us are not “fine”. We’re not even close. We’re just too proud to admit it. We dare not blow our cover, or show any weakness, or flaw, or defeat. What will others think? What would happen to my status in the church pecking order? So………….we keep on faking it. We try to ignore it, or wish it away, or act as if it ain’t so.
That’s what is so refreshing about being around a group of brothers/sisters who live in the truth. They get it. They walk in it. They may be in a Recovery meeting, or a small group – but it is so liberating to enjoy true fellowship with people who know they can do nothing w/o Him, and are desperate for His daily, continual communion. Everyone has issues, and they talk about them. Everyone is real. Everyone knows. and it’s okay. Because everyone knows, everyone cares and feels deeply, and prays with their heart and not just their head. Real fellowship takes place. Real friendships are made. Real people, caring – really.
So, I have to say I am a little jealous of those who get to attend a weekly meeting with people such as these. They have much to teach us about life as a believer. Oh, that we all would learn to “walk humbly with our God”, and to admit our desperation. I believe it would thrill the Lord’s heart, and we would experience a tsunami of grace sweeping over our lives that would refresh those around us.
So, let me start….
Hi, my name is Rob – and I’m an addict.