Summary: Part five focuses on our confessing our addictions to God and to another trusted person.
Twelve Steps To Recovery Part 5
To date in this series we have discussed the first four steps in the twelve step process. We began by admitting that we were powerless over our dependencies and that there was a God greater than ourselves who could restore us to sanity. After reaching that point, in step three we made the decision to turn our lives over to the care of God, a conscious choice that was made freely. In our last step, step four, we took a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. I hope that each of you are being active participates in each of these steps. As we continue working our way through these twelve steps, I want to remind you that this is an individual process that each person must go through on their own. I cannot sit back and evaluate you and tell you what you must do, this is for you to decide. As we move on to step five it is time to begin making our confessions to God. Also in step five, you should shared your addictions (or bad habits if that’s how you refer to them) with someone you know and trust – I will explain why later. In my previous message I told you the story of the Jewish nation returning from exile and how they took their own inventory of their lives? They confessed to God and each other their sins and together made plans that led towards their restoration. This is where we are today.
I. God’s Unending Love Give Us Courage To Confess
Confession, especially as it pertains to our addictions, is hard. As a matter of fact, it is so hard that when we seek out help we tell the person just to pray for us, for our strength to overcome without sharing exactly what we are dealing with. To complicate this further, we are so ashamed of what we are dealing with that we do not want anyone to know – so we suffer alone without support. Why are we so hesitant to confess to one another what we are dealing with? Why do we get so nervous at the very thought of “sharing our business?” As long as I can deal with my business privately I do not have to worry about what someone else may think about me. My reputation is critical to who I am so I cannot risk messing it up. Consider this story that I heard a comic tell. “There was a man on his death bed that called his wife to his side. He knew he was dying and he needed to confess. When his wife got to his side, he told her, ‘Sweetheart, I need to confess to you. I have not been faithful to you. I needed to confess that before I died.’ His loving wife looked at him and said, ‘Baby, I know you have not been faithful to me and that is why I poisoned you.” This is the root cause of why we are not willing to confide in one another. The fallout could be a lot worse than the confession itself. This, however, is not the case with everyone you confide in so you must choose the person carefully. It is also important to note that this is not true at all with God. God will not condemn you when you come to Him confessing your addictions, He does the opposite. He scoops us up in His arms, reassures us that we are going to be fine and then proceeds to help us work through them. Consider the following story of His love:
“How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst and I will not come in wrath. They will walk after the Lord, He will roar like a lion; indeed He will roar and His sons will come trembling from the west. They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will settle them in their houses, declares the Lord.” Hosea 11:8-11
In these verses we find God reaching out to Israel. Although they deserved His wrath, God made the decision that He would not deliver it. God wanted them to understand that He was the God of unending love. To prove that point, He calls on His prophet Hosea. Hosea was a prophet during the time Israel was rebelling against God. God used Hosea’s life to demonstrate His unconditional love for us and His people. If you go back to the beginning of this book, you will find that God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. Unlike us, who would question whether or not we were really hearing from God, Hosea did it. Hosea married her, loved her and devoted himself to her. Now understand this, because God was proving a point to Israel through Hosea’s life, both God and Hosea knew up front that his wife would not be faithful to him. Sure enough, after she had borne him 3 children, she went back to prostitution and in time became enslaved, no longer a free woman. In response to God’s command, Hosea then redeemed his wife from slavery and restored her to the family. God intended this demonstration of unconditional love to be a symbol of His own love for the people of Israel. As in the verses we read, God is reaching back out to Israel, ready to restore her to His family.