…So That We Can Comfort Those in Trouble

July 17, 2012

Tuesday Re-mix –

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we carry this message to other addicts and practice these principles in all our affairs.

[I am using these Tuesday Re-mixes for a few weeks to think (again) about addiction to self-reliance and how that addiction is one of the biggest challenges to genuine community which we face in the American church culture.]

There’s a story we tell in the support group ministry I help lead:

A guy is stuck in the bottom of a hole, with no hope of getting out on his own.  The hole is just too deep.  A businessman walks by and looks down in the hole.  From the bottom, the guy yells, “Can you help me out?  I’m stuck down here.”  The businessman reaches into his pocket and finds a couple of dollar bills and drops them down into the hole and walks off.  The guy in the hole just looks up, bewildered.  Then a minister walks by and looks down into the hole.  From the bottom, the guy yells up, “Can you help me?  I’m stuck!”  The minister yells back, “I’ll pray for you!” and walks off.  The guy in the hole is quickly losing hope.  Then another man walks up and looks down into the hole.  Growing desperate now, the guy in the hole yells up, “Please!  Don’t leave!  I’m stuck and need help.”  Upon hearing this, the guy up top puts down his things and jumps down into the hole with the first guy.  “You fool!” says the first guy.  “Now we’re BOTH stuck down here!  What in the world were you thinking?”  And the second guy answers, “Don’t worry.  You see, I’ve been in this hole before, and I know the way out.  Follow me!”

We are at the end of our journey together to recovery from our addiction to independence and self-reliance.  Oh, it is not the end of our journey…just the end of our journey together as a group.  Your journey…my journey…they will continue throughout our entire lives, and these 12 steps are steps we will come back to again and again.  But through prayer and community with other believers who love us, we now have an infrastructure to support our recovery, i.e., a track to run on.  We can move forward with confidence that there really is a way out from this wretched addiction.

Having found the pathway of healing, do we not feel some sense of responsibility now to help others find it?  Having experienced a spiritual awakening of sorts, or at least a rude awakening to the reality of our addiction, do we not owe our friends and family suffering from the same addiction some “heads up” about it?  It seems to me that this message of the American church’s addiction to self-reliance is not only worthy of sharing but demanding of it.

I hereby pledge to do my part.  You?

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P.S.- I have so enjoyed our time together in this Tuesday group.  Though our formal gathering is now over (there are, after all, only 12 steps), keep an eye out for a post here or there on this same subject in the weeks and months ahead.  You never know when I might feel compelled to revisit one or more of these 12 steps!

© Blake Coffee
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