Help Others and Judge Not

(Philippians 1:23-25) I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, …

As Paul writes these words to the church in Philippi, he is in prison. Literally in chains. Despite this, he knows his mission is to continue serving others as he says, “… that I remain in the body.”

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” (Alcoholic Anonymous, pg. 60)

The similarities between these two quotes are remarkable. Paul’s chains were undeniably real but those held in the bondage of alcoholism and addiction know what a merciless captor is all about. It is no coincidence that both direct us to work with others. Christ’s gifts of pure grace must pass through us and be passed on to others. Paul directly says this is what he is doing while “in the body.” Similarly, once an alcoholic or addict has been metaphorically raised from a living death, it is now their turn to carry the word by taking this hope to another afflicted with our disease. We may be powerless over alcohol/drugs but God is not. God has all power and will deliver us from our demons if we turn to Him. We are His messengers and Paul, for one, tells us so in this scripture. There are many others and we will explore some of them at a later date. For now, we surrender to God’s will and look for “the new guy” that might find the Lord our God through our testimony. Our experience, strength, and hope is what earns immediate credibility and respect.

Still, I have heard some in recovery say they do not want to work with others at least in terms of classical “sponsorship.” They say that most don’t make it and their failure is personally hurtful. Well … sure, its painful seeing anyone turn away from salvation. Jesus himself addressed this when he said, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6) OUCH! That’s pretty harsh but all combined we are directed to help others and move on when rejected.

Another of our axioms is a good way to finish, “Attraction rather than promotion.” We don’t talk people into recovery. We show them our path and they have to open the door of their life to God’s will and THEN they will experience the miracle.