I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world. --Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 28, 29. {ChS 112.2}

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Step One: Seeing Our Brokenness

I was perusing my bookshelf this morning while I rebounded (waiting for my brain to kick in after too many late bedtimes). My eye fell on a couple of books that I haven't cracked for a while: The Twelve Steps for Christians, and its workbook.

I flipped the book open to page one and was flooded by memories of my little 12-Step group back in Saskatoon. We used a non-Adventist Church during Sabbath School time(within walking distance of our church) and sometimes we met in each other's homes. None of us were classically "alcoholic" but we had all experienced the kind of deranged behaviours that come from growing up with alcoholics and other ritual-abusers.

When we first began to meet, the odor of pain and shame was heavy in the air... these were outward signs of our 'brokenness' as individuals, and as a group.

It's useful to go back in my mind, sometimes, to that time of sharing my feelings of shame because after I've been "in the Lord" for a while, I DO forget the humiliation and degradation that dogged much of what I did in my life. Repentence is a wonderful miracle (the transformative process of discovering how much Jesus loves me). I want to have a recollection of the sharp divide between the constant anxiety that accompanied shame and the release and joy that flowed in with the true "let(ting) go and let(ting) God" that comes with this discipline of "working the Steps".

Why do I need to remember?

Because there are throngs of people-- even people in my close circle-- who are still experiencing the emotional pain and uncertainty that clings on like "the stink of the world". In AA terms, when they "hit bottom" they may feel compelled to reach out. In Christian terms, when they become aware of their brokenness, I want to be an effective disciple and friend. I need to empathize, and feel compassion. If I recall my own journey through the polluted valley of sin and shame, I will connect in more quickly. Or, that's my prayer.
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