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Archive for January, 2013


 

Refer to Step 7: I will make a detailed, written account of my abusive experiences, as well as my subsequent behavior. I commit to being as thorough and honest as I’m able.

There is a weird power in a spoken word . . . and a word carries far—very far—deals destruction through time as the bullets go flying through space.

—Joseph Conrad

Words are more powerful than most people can comprehend. No matter how much you desire to do so, you can never retract hurtful words spoken in the heat of an argument. Once they leave your mouth, those words can never be retrieved. Nearly everybody can remember hurtful words that were maliciously spoken when they were children, even decades earlier. For many, the pain from a rebuke can be felt years after it was delivered.

Hurtful, scolding words make indelible imprints on our minds and on our hearts. The wounds they inflict may last a lifetime. Unfortunately, apologies don’t erase them from our memories—nothing can. The Scriptures tell us that no man can “tame the tongue. It’s a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” The power of words is incredible, especially negative, abusive ones.

Several years ago, a survey asked mothers to keep a daily record of how many times they made negative and positive comments to their children. The results were startling. The mothers documented that they made critical remarks ten times more often than encouraging words.

Statistics reveal that in an average household, children hear “no” or are told they “can’t” more than 148,000 times by the time they reach eighteen. One school did its own three-year survey and discovered the teachers were negative with their students 75 percent of the time. The study also determined that it required four positive statements from a teacher to offset the effects of one negative statement.

Why not take a few minutes and write down the negative things you have said to someone you care about? If you do, it will help you to think before you speak, and it can also help you make a positive impact upon another. Saying something positive can help heal a broken relationship. By encouraging someone today, it will also help advance your recovery. So, be merciful to someone who is wounded—someone who is in desperate need of validation.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Psalm 18:21)

Jack Watts

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Refer to Step 4: I choose to believe what God says about Himself: that He is good and can be trusted. I recognize that God is not the abuser; rather, people who misuse their authority are the abusers.

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

—Winston Churchill

It’s important for everybody to learn how to recognize spiritual abusiveness. Obviously, there are many ways it can manifest itself, but one of the most common ways is financially. In this area, let the buyer beware is an appropriate saying. It’s not a Scriptural verse, but it’s certainly true.

Here are some things to always look for. When a church or ministry is obsessed with money, it’s motivated by materialism, which is not a fruit of God’s Spirit. In essence, they tell you, “Give your money to God, but be certain to use my address.” To accomplish their goal, they either make you feel guilty about not giving, or they appeal to your own sense of greed.

The former is self-explanatory, but the latter requires clarification. When you are told to give so that you can receive more, there’s nothing Christian about this. It’s greed, and there’s nothing noble or praiseworthy about it. If you believe anything else, you are deceiving yourself and playing right into the hands of those who want to take your money deceitfully. The end result is religious abuse.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of ministries eager to exploit you in this way. There’s an entire Christian faction dedicated to this, which is called the “prosperity gospel” movement. You should never give expecting anything in return. It means you haven’t given; you’re investing, expecting a dividend. Don’t do it, and don’t feel guilty for refusing.

You need to examine your own heart about this. When you give, is it really giving, or are you actually expecting something for yourself? If it’s the latter, it’s materialism motivated by greed, which Christ never did. Such behavior doesn’t count for anything and, to believe that it does, reveals nothing but a lack of discernment on your part.

But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing; that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 5:3-4)

Jack Watts

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Refer to Step 3: I accept that the responsibility for getting back on track is mine and no one else’s.

 

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart . . . Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.

—Carl Jung

People who have experienced religious abuse become “stuck” in their anger, remaining trapped for years by the pain of their wounds. Sometimes, they remain this way for the rest of their lives. Often, you will hear them say:

  • “It isn’t me. He’s the one that’s wrong. Let him apologize first.”
  • “She did this to me, and I’ll never go back until she makes things right.”
  • “I’m right; they’re wrong—end of story.”

Wearing their hurt feelings on their sleeves, abused Christians retreat from spirituality to pursue half-lives, where festering bitterness becomes their predominant characteristic.

Because we live in a society where bitterness is not condoned, they become masters of disguise, hiding their true feelings behind a facade of smiles and pleasantries, but it’s there—just below the surface, producing relational difficulties that take a toll upon everyone in the abused person’s life.

Does this sound like you? Have you had an experience similar to this? If so, you’re not alone. Nearly every abused person—whether it’s religious or spousal abuse—has had an experience like this.

The problem is that by allowing your wounds to fester, you become the prisoner of the person responsible for the abuse, and they don’t care what harm it’s exacting upon you. If they did, they wouldn’t have abused you in the first place. Although it doesn’t seem fair—and it isn’t—the responsibility for getting back on track is yours and not theirs. By waiting for your abuser to “make things right,” you’re wasting your life—not theirs, yours. It’s like saying; “I’ll get even with you by hurting me.” It’s illogical and ineffective.

To become whole again, you must make a conscious commitment to become “unstuck,” and the only way to do this is by acknowledging that the responsibility for getting back on track is yours and nobody else’s. This may not be an easy pill to swallow, but to achieve fulfillment in life, it’s the right medicine—no doubt about it.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Jack Watts   My Story

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Father,

When You want my attention,

You know how to get it.

There are times when I feel

Like You aren’t really there,

Like You don’t really care,

Like my life has little meaning,

And I am without value to anyone.

Then, through my circumstances,

You shake me to the core, and I am undone.

As You begin your relentless pruning,

At first, I don’t recognize what’s happening,

And I cry out, ”Why me, Lord?”

I don’t like what is going on.

It’s painful and uncomfortable,

Which makes me resist Your efforts

To mold me into the man I am supposed to be,

The man you are diligently reshaping.

I want to be your man. I want to be

Strong, resourceful, and resilient,

But I want it to come easily, without effort,

But it never does. I guess it never will.

You understand that, while I don’t,

So I chafe at Your pruning,

Which is focused and precise.

When I realize what is happening,

I bow me knee and acknowledge,

That Your hand is hard,

But Your love is unwavering.

When You finish, You seem pleased,

Realizing that my future will be bountiful,

And of greater value than what came before.

Jack Watts

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Father,

I am undone and badly crushed,

As those who seek what little is left,

Fight over scraps of my being—

Over pieces of my shattered soul.

How long will You leave me exposed

And vulnerable to ravenous predators—

To those who seek to destroy me?

Tell me, Lord, when will it be enough?

When will You protect Your wounded child?

When will You move Your mighty hand to help?

Question: Have you ever felt like this? Do you still feel this way? What other emotions does this touch inside you?

Character destruction is often what abusers intend. It hard to believe that there can be people who are so mean-spirited, but there are. To recover from such malicious treatment, the abusee needs to make a conscious, concerted effort to reject the castigating message, which has undermined their self-esteem.

 

Journal: Write about what you have done to try and counteract your abuse, paying particular attention to how it has impacted your self-esteem.

If I could have chosen my way, I would have chosen a softer, easier way, while God’s choice for me was much different. Like a good parent, He wanted me to grow up and be an adult.

Journal: Write about your life after you were abused, paying particular attention to secondary difficulties that added complications to your life.

The only way to avoid it is to become forgiving. It’s why Christ said, “Love your enemies,” which is the most difficult thing in the world to do. It’s requires God’s love in your life to do so; but once you have let it go, the pain from it will diminish and eventually disappear.

 

Journal: Write about what you have done to forgive your abuser. If you haven’t done anything, write about why you refuse to grant forgiveness. Remember to be as transparent as you know how to be.

 

Being Christ-like works; nothing else does. It draws people to the Lord much more effectively than a three-minute testimony from a stranger. The former is genuine, while the latter is little more than an infomercial—something contrived, forced, and disingenuous—something that never delivers as much as it promises.

Question: Don’t you prefer to be genuine than to try and be something you are not? Does reading this paragraph make you feel freer or more constricted? Think about your answers and how each makes you feel.

Jack Watts   Books to Help You Recover

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily.

—Sally Koch

As a child of God, you are only expected to lift Him up—not push Him. Nothing more. That’s our entire responsibility. Isn’t it freeing just to read this and take it in, knowing that it’s okay to just be yourself?

I can’t save a person any more than I can damn them. Neither can you. We don’t have anything to do with it. We don’t have a vote in the matter—never have, never will. Those decisions are left up to God—where they belong. If that’s true—and it is; then, what is our part in the process?

It’s to lift up Christ, which we do every time we act out of the nature He has imparted to us, rather than out of our own, self-serving natures. If I act out of my own best interest and nothing more, I miss an opportunity to lift Him up. When I am Christ-like, I display love, joy, peace, and the rest of the fruit of God’s Spirit.

When I suffer for the Lord, I’m also lifting Him up. When I choose His way over materialism, I’m lifting Him up. When I’m kind, expecting nothing in return, I’m lifting Him up.

When I seek my own way, I’m not. The greatest problem comes when we deceive ourselves into believing our will is God’s will, and we press for it at the expense of others. It doesn’t work, and it manifests a poor witness for Christ.

Being Christ-like works; nothing else does. It draws people to the Lord much more effectively than a three-minute testimony from a stranger. The former is genuine, while the latter is little more than an infomercial—something contrived, forced, and disingenuous—something that never delivers what it promises.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

Jack Watts   Resources to Help

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Refer to Step 9: I humbly ask God to change anything He desires, and I ask Him to heal my pain. Because God forgives us as we forgive others, I chose to forgive my abusers.

 

In the souls of the people, the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

—John Steinbeck

Some people are so offended with their abusers they assert, “I will never forgive them—never in a million years.” When they say this, it’s usually said with such deep, bitter resentment. They are crystal clear they mean what they have said. Their enmity is so engrained; they refuse to even consider forgiveness.

From their perspective, it’s easy to understand their refusal. After all, they didn’t do anything wrong; their abusers did. The offended person’s attitude indicates that if anybody needs to apologize, it is their abuser not them.

Many become so hardened in this position they become entrenched and immovable. Unable to recognize that their hardened hearts adversely impact them and not their abusers, they “hunker down,” nurturing their anger, which they adamantly believe is their right to do.

By feeding their bitterness rather than dealing with it, however, it doesn’t occur to them that abusive people produce more abusive people. That’s right; most people who experience abuse have been abused themselves. They simply follow suite, becoming just like the people they hate. Abuse begets abuse as inevitably as night follows day.

The only way to avoid bitterness is to become forgiving. It’s why Christ said, “Love your enemies,” which is the most difficult thing in the world to do. It’s requires God’s love in your life to do so. Nothing else works, but once you have let it go, the pain from your abuse will diminish and eventually disappear. At first, you will not feel the relief; but over time, you’ll realize it’s gone. Once it has, you will be profoundly grateful. I promise it you will.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:30-31)

Jack Watts   Recovery Material

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Refer to Step 5: I recognize that the only way back to a productive life is exactly the way I came. Therefore, I commit to repairing my relationship with God and making amends with everyone I have wronged along the way.

 

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up, we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability—to be alive is to be vulnerable.

—Madeleine L’Engle

Here’s a question you might ask yourself: Do you believe God holds you—and other people in recovery—to a higher standard than He does others? This certainly has been my thought, and I’ve heard others express it as well.

Many people seem to lead such comfortable, easy lives—never experiencing significant setbacks. Mine, by way of comparison, seems more difficult and much of it appears to be unnecessary. That’s what I think when I look at life from my standpoint, rather than recognizing that God’s perspective is much different than mine.

If I could have chosen my way, I would have chosen a softer, easier one, while God’s choice for me has been different. Like a good parent, He wanted me to grow up and be an adult. I recognized the dissimilarity in our perspectives when I was thirty-three years old. I remember praying, “Thank you, Father, everything has always gone so well for me. Nothing difficult has ever happened, and I’m so grateful to You for that—so grateful.”

Within a month of uttering that prayer, things changed, and the subsequent years have been filled with difficulties. Have I chafed under the strain of my circumstances? You bet—big time! But I’ve also grown up, which I wouldn’t have done if life had been easier .

When I was thirty-three, I was a little boy who looked like a man. Now, I am a man in every sense of the word, having my character forged in God’s winepress of adversity. It was a painful experience but, from the Divine viewpoint, absolutely necessary. Without it, I would still have my gray hair, but all I would be is a little boy who looked like a mature man. The world is full of men who have never grown up, and at long last, I can finally say that I’m not one of them.

Who have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge. That I may tell of all Thy works. (Psalm 73:25-26; 28)

—Jack Watts, Hi, My Name Is Jack

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Refer to Step 4: I chose to accept as true what God has said about Himself. He is good and can be trusted.

 

No matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done, or how you’ve blown it, God is able to get you back to a place where He can use you again.

—Nancy Leigh DeMoss

When a person has been verbally or emotionally abused, feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem are inevitable. There doesn’t seem to be any way around it—at least, for a while. It’s very sad, but it appears that character destruction is often what abusers intend. It’s hard to believe that there can be people who are so mean-spirited, but there are.

To recover from such malicious treatment, the abused person needs to make a conscious, concerted effort to reject the castigating message, which has undermined his or her self-esteem. It isn’t true—even if the person has done some less than honorable things.

If this is what has happened to you, then you need to know God continues to have a plan for your life. He still loves you, and everything can work together for good, if you will allow it. To do this, you need to renew your mind and tell yourself constantly and repeatedly that you have value to God, to yourself, and to everyone you know.

This isn’t simply the power of positive thinking or looking at the glass as half full; it’s the truth. God does still love you, and He does have plans for you. Tell yourself this, repeatedly. Realizing that God’s love is constant, more than any thing, will help you become everything you are capable of being in life.

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:5-6)

Jack Watts, Hi, My Name Is Jack

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Father,

I Need Your Help.

I feel like a wounded gazelle,

Unable to fend for myself,

As hungry predators surround me.

My demise seems certain,

And there is no place to hide.

My friends—those who call upon Your name—

Are nowhere to be found,

Just when I need them the most.

My love has abandoned me for another,

Without ever looking back.

I am undone and badly crushed,

As those who seek what little is left,

Fight over scraps of my being—

Over pieces of my shattered soul.

How long will You leave me exposed

And vulnerable to ravenous miscreants—

To those who seek to destroy me?

Tell me, Lord, when will it be enough?

When will You protect Your wounded child?

When will You move Your mighty hand to help?

If You don’t rescue me soon, nothing will remain.

You know how my head hangs in despair,

And that my countenance has diminished,

As dread and insecurity have overwhelmed me.

Provide me with a way through the thorny path

And lead me to a safe place of security.

I am greatly undone and plead for Your help.

Help me, Father; Help me now.

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Father,

Not knowing what lies ahead or what You have in store,

I willingly give You permission to finish

The work that You have begun in me.

Let my petty, whining nature be a thing of the past—

A distant memory of my childishness—

As I seek Your will rather dictating mine to You.

I ask only that You reveal Your will to me each day,

And provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

Question: Do you know what God has in store for you? Do you give Him permission to do whatever is necessary to make you the man or woman you need to be? Be thoughtful about your response.

Being forgiven much, people in recovery develop a deeper capacity to love, which is a highly valued character quality. If you’re in recovery—any kind of recovery—you know this as well. Those who have never fallen—who have never done anything seriously wrong—don’t understand this perspective. Their comprehension about such things is limited.

Question: React to the paragraph above. Do you agree with it or disagree? Think of three reasons that support your position.

To criticize the minister—”the anointed one”— is perceived as criticizing God, making the person who disagrees have flawed, having “sinful” character qualities. Routinely, those who are in opposition are depicted as “carnal”—as purposefully going against God’s will. This makes the questioner’s walk with the Lord appear to be defective, which is exactly how it is positioned by the abusive leader. When the abuser says, “I’ll pray for you, brother,” it is usually accompanied by a syrupy smile. When this happens, you can be certain that no prayers will be forthcoming—only character assassination.

Journal: Was this your experience? If so, write about it, being as critical as you feel the need to be.

 

By looking to God for the future, rather than blaming Him for the past, I chose life over the debilitating half-life of bitterness. I worked out a new purpose—a rewarding, fulfilling one. Christ saved my soul, but I did the recovery work to forge a new life—a life of value.

 

Question: Do you still look to the past? Have you put it behind you? Are there still some things that trigger you to anger about what happened?

In our watered-down version of cultural Christianity, which is espoused in many denominations, God’s blessings are equated to materialism and not to the rich character qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. If you are prosperous, God is blessing you. If you aren’t, your life has fallen short of the mark.

Journal: React to this paragraph, either agreeing or disagreeing with it. Write about it.

Jack Watts

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. It is so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.

—Martin Luther

A while ago in Cheshire, England, two twelve-year-old schoolboys were disciplined for “refusing to pray to Allah” as part of their school’s religious education program. A spokesman for the county council said, “Educating children in the beliefs of different faiths is part of Cheshire’s diversity curriculum.”

Because of separation of church and state, this scenario couldn’t be replicated in the America—not exactly. But the mindset of accepting all religious systems as equally valid is a fundamental belief of American political correctness. Although most churches would repudiate this based on their doctrine, it’s the de facto belief system for most Christians as well.

In an attempt to be acceptable to everyone, Christians have watered-down Christ’s teachings, attempting to remove exclusivity from His message. If you think this is an exaggeration, just ask any young Christian under twenty-five if Christ is the only way to God. Three-out-of-four will either hedge or deny it out-rightly. Christianity isn’t loosing the cultural war; it has already been lost.

Our churches are filled with weak, materialistic, sappy people—not robust men and women—not those who refuse to bend their knees to anyone other than the Lord. In our watered-down version of cultural Christianity, which is espoused in many denominations, God’s blessings are equated to materialism and not to the rich character qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. If you are prosperous, God is blessing you. If you aren’t, your life has fallen short of the mark.

When the two English boys made a stand for what they believed, they paid a price, but their defiance also made news worldwide.

Remember, fidelity may cost you everything; but without it, you don’t have anything of value anyway. These kids made a stand for something important. Do you think you could do the same thing?

Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their own bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. (Daniel 3:28)

Jack Watts

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Refer to Step 6: I refuse to become like those who have abused me and abandon my desire to spread malice because of my pain and my anger.

 

Our energy is in proportion to the resistance it meets. We attempt nothing great but from a sense of the difficulties we have to encounter, we persevere in nothing great but from a pride in overcoming them.

—William Hazlitt

You can’t work for your salvation; it’s free. There’s nothing you can do to save yourself, but you have to “work out” your relationship with God.

When I was first victimized by religious abuse, I was hurt, angry, confused, and purposeless for a long time. When I realized I was not getting any better by wallowing in self-pity, I knew I had to make some changes. I would never become who I was supposed to be by living in bitterness, and nobody was going to help me. I had to do it myself.

That’s when I started working on myself. Realizing Christ was not the problem but the solution, I looked to Him, and the words He spoke, as my source for courage, inspiration, and purpose. I had to rethink every aspect of my life, changing nearly everything. At first, I resented it but, after a while, I chose to embrace it instead.

I had a vision for what my life would become, but God’s purpose was different. Turning out to be who He wanted me to be has taken a lot of work, and continues to require more. By looking to God for the future, rather than blaming Him for the past, I chose life over the debilitating half-life of bitterness. I worked out a new purpose—a rewarding, fulfilling one. Christ saved my soul, but I had to do the recovery work to forge a new life—a life of value.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

My Story

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For Abuse to Occur

 

Refer to Step 4: I recognize that God is not the abuser; people who misuse their authority are the abusers.

 

One’s cruelty is one’s power and, when one parts with one’s cruelty, one parts with one’s power. When one has parted with that, I fancy one’s old and ugly.

—William Congreve

For religious abuse to occur, an attitude of arrogance, entitlement, and pride is required by a religious leader. If such an attitude doesn’t exist, then most abuse is unintentional, with no maliciousness intended. To be certain what’s happening, it’s always wise to take a good, hard look at every pastor and ministry leader, looking for telltale signs of spiritual superiority. If you discern these characteristics, move on.

It doesn’t matter how profound the person’s teaching may be or how loving he or she appear to be, it’s an illusion. At the end of the day, those who embrace such leadership will pay dearly. By keeping their mouths shut, they provide tacit approval for abusive behavior, paying the price that always accompanies failure to promptly do the right thing. On the other hand, those who recognize the problem and make a stand for what is right will also be abused.

Here’s the way it works. Although people have differences of opinion, when one person’s opinion is elevated above others and positioned as “God’s will” for the rest, then abusiveness is certain to follow. The person who doesn’t buy into the program is not only rebuked; but by holding his or her ground in opposition, that person’s relationship with God is inevitably called into question. To criticize the minister—”the anointed one”— is perceived as criticizing God, making the person who disagrees fundamentally flawed, having “sinful” character qualities.

Routinely, those who are in opposition are depicted as “carnal”—as purposefully going against God’s will. This makes the questioner’s walk with the Lord appear to be defective, which is exactly how it is positioned by the abusive leader. When the abuser says, “I’ll pray for you, brother,” it is usually accompanied by a syrupy smile. When this happens, you can be certain that no prayers will be forthcoming—only character assassination.

The person asking hard questions becomes an “untouchable”—rejected by those who were co-laborers just a short time before. This type of treatment happens routinely in ministries and churches, wounding people beyond their capacity to cope with what follows. When the process is complete, there is another person added to the ranks of the religiously abused.

Your boasting is not good. Do you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (I Corinthians 5:6-8)

Jack Watts   Resources to Help

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Refer to Step 3: I accept that the responsibility for getting back on track is mine and no one else’s.

 

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

— Helen Keller

Often lines from a movie make a profound impression on people. In one obscure movie, I remember one depraved man’s comment, “It’s easier to maintain character than to recover it. Obviously, this is true. It is easier to preserve character than to recover it. When it’s lost, it’s lost and, trying to regain it is always an uphill battle.

But that’s only part of the problem. Once virtue has been abandoned, most lose hope and simply act out the role they believe they were destined to play. From a legalistic perspective, they’re done; their goose is cooked. They’ve fallen, and they can’t get up. Because they believe they are beyond hope, their lives are filled with despair, poor behavior, and low self-esteem. More often than not, this is what people who have fallen believe to be true about themselves.

From God’s perspective, it’s entirely different. He actively pursues those who desire recovery. Because of the severity of a person’s fall, recovering people know the value of restoration—the value of having their dignity reinstated.

Being forgiven much, they develop a deeper capacity to love, which is a highly valued character quality. If you’re in recovery—any kind of recovery—you know this as well. Those who have never fallen—who have never done anything seriously wrong—don’t understand this perspective. Their comprehension about such things is limited.

They don’t have a clue about recovery. Developing compassion and deep empathy doesn’t particularly interest them. They have far too many personal, self-serving goals to achieve. Although they don’t understand its value, we certainly do, don’t we?

But as for me, my prayer is to Thee, O Lord, at an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of Thy lovingkindness, answer me with Thy saving truth. Deliver me from the mire, and do not let me sink; may I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters.

(Psalm 69:13-14)

Jack Watts   Recovery Resources

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