Voices of Recovery today says, “As I pondered the word ‘spiritual,’ I realized that it implied a vertical relationship between my God and myself, rather than a horizontal relationship that included religion and everyone else.  I believe my relationship with God is established independent of my relationships with others (except for the One who bought the relationship) and it is maintained by prayer and meditation, but it is also connected.  When I fellowship with others and celebrate God together with them, I get to participate in a beautiful pyramid of purpose, in which God strengthens each individual and the bonds of purpose and unity between them, and is glorified by the product – connected worship.  Scriptures like 1 John 4:20 tell me that I cannot pretend to love God and neglect my brother.  The two just don’t go together.  Still, I get a sense that the VOR contributor is referring to a one-on-one loving relationship, expressed through personal quiet time, and with that sentiment I totally agree.  I cannot make my pyramid without connective lines between two points, the first of which are those that represent God and me.

  

In addition to recovery from compulsive overeating, I am also recovering from a tendency to assault people with MY WAY.  I have often called it “chronic assholsim.”  It is really simply abusing others because of, and in order to attempt to achieve, my way.  One of the manifestations of this affliction is addressed in Proverbs 12: 18, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.  One of the clubs I have used to batter my fellows is that of knowing-it-all.  I have demonstrated an ability to verbally lash the flesh off the bones and sound “right” in the process.   But this program of recovery has given me a mission to put a great big “D” on the end of all my “AMENs.”  I have learned that it is better to be wrong than to, by being right, do another harm.   Instead of seeking an “amen,” I am doing amends.  Since by speaking I have caused others harm, by speaking I shall bind others wounds, as it says in verse 25, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.  God, keep me from harming a single soul with my words or actions today, but let me be a conduit of Your grace and love, and by my loving-kindness draw others, not to me, but to You.

  

2 Samuel 12 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible.  The prophet Nathan was sent to David to tell him a story of contrast, a rich rancher and a poor man with a single pet lamb.  The wealthy rancher stole the pet lamb from the poor man to slaughter for a visitor’s supper.  This story appealed to every thread of David, from his early days as a shepherd boy to his royal position on the throne of Israel.  As he raged against the rich character of Nathan’s story, pronouncing that the only justice would be death for this ruthless, greedy man, Nathan stuck him in the heart with the truth about his taking Uriah’s wife as his own, “You are the man!” (Verse 7)  David’s submission to that truth and acknowledgement of his defects and actions was followed up with desperately humble supplication before the Lord, and ultimately, acceptance of God’s will for him, though it was in sharp contrast with his own.  When the crying and praying and the enduring of God’s consequences was over, the relationship between David and God was recovered, and he was again blessed by the same God he had offended.  There are very valuable lessons in this chapter about praying, accepting “no” as an answer to prayer, and moving on in acceptance and living in blessing, and even about healthy grieving, but my favorite lesson of this chapter is Nathan’s example of speaking to people in the language that connects to their emotions.  I read a book called The Language of Love that was written by Gary Smalley and John Trent around that concept and this very story, and found it to be an amazing help in my personal communication.   Good Shepherd, keep me in Your loving care, and empower me to use that same loving care to serve my fellow sheep.  Forgive me for, and cleanse me of, my wolf-man character.  Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.

  

(From Alcoholics Anonymous)  Henry Ford once made a wise remark to the effect that experience is the thing of supreme value in life. That is true only if one is willing to turn the past to good account. We grow by our willingness to face and rectify errors and convert them into assets. The alcoholic’s past thus becomes the principal asset of the family and frequently it is almost the only one!” (page 124)  

     Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves.” (page 76)

Advertisements