Summary: Whenever we talk about recovery, we are never talking about one person - but a system of persons. Our addictions, obsessions and persistent sins have taken a toll on everyone around us.
RELATIONSHIP RECOVERY Genesis 2:4-25
September is Recovery Month and we have a few goals in this emphasis.
-We seek to find hope in the Gospel for dealing with all of our obsessions, addictions, and the sinful weights that are holding us down from following God wholeheartedly.
- We seek to remove the stigma of dealing with persistent sins and addictions by admitting we are all sinners and we all need help.
- We seek to reveal the resources available in our community for those who are ready to seek out help.
I find these goals to be very Gospel-centered, as Jesus reached out to the hurting and struggling he encountered with a spirit of compassion and healing.
One of the ways that addictions and sinful behaviors take a toll in our lives is the beating that all of our relationships take. The relationship with Self - the loss of self-respect, the way that our own actions weigh on us and the lack of control that we experience. The relationship with God - there are struggles to continue in relationship to the Lord when we continue down the path of addiction, allowing obsessive behaviors reign in our lives. Feel far away from God. The relationship with others - particularly our family and close friends. When addiction is a part of the relationship it becomes more difficult to maintain the relationship.
“Once a substance user progresses from occasional use to addiction, they are likely to have a single focus: obtaining and using the substance.” - Eric Patterson
This is the reason for the existence of al-anon and al-ateen. Al-anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who believe their lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. It’s a mutual support recovery program. (http://al-anon.org) Whenever we talk about recovery, we are never talking about one person - but a system of persons. Our addictions, obsessions and persistent sins have taken a toll on everyone around us. Our relationships are in recovery. One step toward recovery is to notice what God did when he created relationships in the beginning. When God created the world he revealed His intentions for relationships for human beings.
1. God Revealed the Value of Life (2:7)
Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.”
Into the dusty unfinished landscape comes a being that is made of a combination of earth and spirit. Initially, life on our planet found its origins in the Lord God. Human beings are significant to God because He gives them the breath of life. Even when life choices and issues and diseases are active in making life more difficult, we believe every life is valuable and important and has potential. That’s why we promote recovery not rejection when someone falls. Sometimes people even feel that they are unworthy of God’s love. The value of our individual lives is immeasurable. God reveals this when he breathes the breath of life into Adam.
2. God Revealed the Value of Work (2:15)
Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it”.
God didn’t give Adam a hammock, but a workplace in which to thrive. He was naming all the animals (how did he come up with aardvark?) He had a brand new garden to tend - can you imagine the beauty! He gave him duty and responsibility. We often think we find the greatest pleasure in leisure, but actually it is in accomplishing something for which we worked hard.
When addiction is present, Working, providing for our family and building lives we can be proud of are all endangered. Relationships between employers and coworkers are endangered. The family pressure of having uncertain income is an incredible stress. The value of work and caring for others is diminished when the focus is on ourselves and what we want.
God revealed the value of life and work and…
3. God Revealed the Value of Boundaries (2:16-17)
Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die”
You wouldn’t think that Adam would have any boundaries. There’s no peer pressure yet! There are no people and places or things to get him into trouble! How would he get into any trouble at this point? Why does he need boundaries? There was that one thing. God told him not to eat of a certain tree. So simple even humans couldn’t mess it up. Right. Since even Adam had some boundaries, I’m sure that all humans need them.