I am a believer that all of us are in recovery. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) Because of sin, each and every one of us need Jesus, the doctor, to help us recover.
Whether it is anger, anxiety, codependency, pride, sexual sin, addictions, you name it…Jesus has come to heal us and set us free! But in order for us to recover, we must turn from our ways and turn to Jesus.
There are many great resources that can help us turn to Jesus, and one that I have personally found impactful is Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-Centered recovery program that addresses people’s hurts, habits, and hangups and meets every Thursday evening at 6:30pm, right here at Hope. There are a couple things that stand out to me regarding Celebrate Recovery:
1. The Twelve Steps
About fifteen years ago, I personally went through Celebrate Recovery’s twelve-step program, and it was life-changing. If recovery is a journey, the Twelve Steps are the road that takes you through it, from the beginning, admitting that you need help in your life, to the end, passing on what you have learned.
Many people think the Twelve Steps are just a tool that “those other people” need. But I believe the Twelve Steps can be useful to all of us, as we walk through the messiness of life and pursue a closer walk with Jesus.
Going through the Twelve Steps myself has changed the way I look at the world and at my own life. So often, we try to walk the rough road of life by ourselves, denying that we need anyone or anything else to help us manage our pain.
The Twelve Steps opened my eyes to the way that God wants me to walk with Him: admitting my faults and submitting to Him, seeking help from others, forgiving and asking for forgiveness, and gaining the strength I need every day from the Holy Spirit through the admission that I am weak and can’t go it alone.
2. Seeing Others As God Sees Them
I confess that I can be a judgmental person. I think many of us are, even without realizing it. We create first impressions of people we see every day, and it’s extremely hard to get past that. But in 1 Samuel 16:7, God says,“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God sees us for who we truly are and who we can be. So often, we humans only ever see the surface level of each other, not bothering to dive deep and risk vulnerability. Celebrate Recovery helps us to change that. Through lessons, testimonies, and carefully regulated open-share groups in which people speak out about their pain and how the Lord is working in their lives, the superficial surface is stripped away. Honesty comes forth, solidarity is experienced, respect is paid, and wounds begin to heal.
Celebrate Recovery removes the barrier of fearing the judgment of others and gives people the opportunity to see each other for who they are as people, not just as first impressions, stereotypes, or labels.
This coming weekend, we are celebrating five years of Celebrate Recovery at Hope. Celebrate Recovery will be serving us a free lunch after both of our Sunday services, and in our services, we will be looking at how we are not alone in our recovery journeys. I hope you’ll be able to join us for this fun weekend!