Blog Entry

12 Step Recovery Programs

Posted on: July 25, 2008 7:57 pm
The 12 Step Recovery Programs have been around for a long time and have helped countless numbers of people deal with a wide variety of addictions, obsessive/compulsuve behaviors, and life problems.  I will present a Bible-based 12 Step program, but understand that secular programs are useful and successful, and I have participated in both.  I am presenting one option for those who want to undertake the challenge of recovery.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 5:49 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 12 Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to other addicts, other people in general, and to practice these principles in all our daily activities. 
Step 12 Scripture Study 1

Galatians 6:1-2
"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."  
Luke 4-14-20
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me. He has anointed me to tell the good news to poor people. He has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners. He has sent me so that the blind will see again. He wants me to free those who are beaten down. And he has sent me to announce the year when he will set His people free." 

Sharing your recovery experience with others helps keep you honest with yourself and may reach another person in need who feels that he or she is the only person going through the struggle, the only person who could be 'this bad,' or the only person who can't be forgiven and helped.  How long did you struggle with your self-image before you sought to tell your story to someone and get help?  There are so many like you who need you to open the door to recovery and salvation for them.

You also have this opportunity to draw closer to God in serving Him by serving others.  He will give you the words to say, He will put people in your path to interact with, and He will do the same work He has already done for the multitude of saved, sober, and recovered people that He is doing for you and will do for others.

Share your experience and the love of God with others, and may God bless you on this new journey.  Keep company with those in the program and in your church and seek fellowship and support.  The program is never over and neither is your walk with God.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 5:30 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 11 Continued

Step 11 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.

Step 11 Scripture Study 5
James 4:8
"Come near to God and He will come near to you." 
As we continue to pray and meditate we will become more attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Someone once said, "Prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to Him." We meditate by reading the Bible and then thinking about it, turning it over in our minds until the Holy Spirit reveals its meaning to us. 
Once God begins revealing to us what His will for us is in our lives, we must continue to seek His direction and the power needed to carry it out. We will discover as we practice this step, how powerfully the Holy Spirit is working in our lives and also that the "good news of salvation" will have ever increasing reality to us.

Step 11 Scripture Study 6
Read Proverbs 4:20-22, Psalm 1:1-3, Ephesians 3:14-19. Matthew 12:50, Luke 6:12, Matthew 6:5-13, John 16:23-24, Acts 1:14,
Acts 4:29-31, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, and Matthew 26:41.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 5:26 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 11 Continued

Step 11 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.

Step 11 Scripture Study 3
Philippians 4:5-9
"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.. Finally, brothers, whatsoever things are true, honest, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which you have both learned and received and heard and seen in me [Paul], those things you should also do; and the God of peace shall be with you."  
We are encouraged here to rest in and be content in the ways of God. The apostle Paul points out that we do this through a life of moderation, prayer, thinking about the good things of God and living out the things that we have learned from the scriptures and good examples. This is what is talked about in step 11, to continue to grow in our walk with God. In doing so, we can grow in that great reward of the peace of God which passes all understanding. If we were to try to live this life when we were just getting out of our addiction, then we might find it boring or difficult or unrewarding. But by going through the previous steps, we learn how valuable these things are in our life--more valuable than any of the false and shallow "rewards" that we got from our addictive behavior. We realize by now how God has worked so beautifully in our lives and we want to live more of that.

Step 11 Scripture Study 4

1 Peter 4:1-8
"For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; the he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquettings, and abominable idolatries; wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you; who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For this cause was the gospel preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is at hand; be therefore sober, and watch prayerfully. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."  

Here the apostle Peter reminds us of our past life, when we walked in licentiousness, lust, drinking, partying, carousing and abominable idolatries, and the fact that many still walk in these ways and think it is strange when we do not. But just as for us, there was a time of
judgment, a time of hitting bottom so that we might know that it was the grace of God that could pull us out, there also will be a time of judgment for others who walk in these ways. God is just. And the response in our lives should be to do the will of God. It is to be sober minded, spending time in prayer and loving our brothers and sisters in Christ fervently. In this way we can avoid the roaring lion that would seek to devour even more of our lives and the good fruit of the Spirit that God wants to bear in us.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 5:22 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 11 Continued

Step 11 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.

Step 11 Scripture Study 2

Matthew 4:1-11
"Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you are the Son of God, command that these stones be made into bread. But Jesus answered, It is written Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. the devil took Jesus up into the holy city and sat Jesus on a pinnacle of the temple. The devil said to Jesus, If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written He shall give His angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. Jesus said to the devil, It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil took Jesus up onto a high mountain and showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And the devil said to Jesus, All these things will I give you if you will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus answered him, Get the away Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shall you serve. the devil left Jesus and angels came and ministered to Jesus." 

In this portion of scripture, we read about how Jesus used fasting to grow in His consecration to the will of God. This passage also shows how often when we grow in our consecration, then there is an opposition from the evil one and a time of temptation.

Ephesians 6:13-17
"13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; . . "

In the New Testament, when a human is said to use a "sword," the Greek word used is 'machairi' and should be translated "dagger," not "sword."  It makes sense that the disciples, most being fishermen, would not have access to swords, which are military equipment issued to soldiers.  They would be using knives--or daggers--with shorter blades, as part of their working lives.  Consider the implication of humans using knives or daggers in spiritual warfare as described in Ephesians.  The spiritual battle would be up close and personal, almost hand-to-hand combat.  Isn't our temptation by the enemy an up close and personal attack?  Regardless of whether it takes the form of addictions, bad health, financial difficulties, personal relationship problems, emotional doubts, personal loss, etc., it is always deeply personal to each one of us. 

So how does the 'dagger of the Spirit, which is the word of God' change how we do battle in spiritual warfare?  The dagger is the only offensive weapon we use in spiritual warfare.  It is made up of 'the word of God' or our Bible.  In other words, if we do not know God's word, if we do not read the Bible daily and even more so, commit to memory those verses and promises God has given us in our Bibles, our daggers will be dull, useless implements; perhaps we will not even be prepared to find our daggers during time of attack in life's temptations and trials, leaving us unprepared to fight the spiritual battles that the enemy will rage in our minds.  We are told to hide His word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him; we are also told in this section of Ephesians that without committing the word of God to memory, our only method of defending ourselves from personal spiritual warfare attacks will not be available to us.

As an example of this, consider the three temptations of Jesus by Satan in Matthew 4:1-11, or as I would call it, the battle of the "It is written" between Jesus and Satan.  Why would Jesus need to respond to Satan's attempts to tempt Him by saying, "It is written?"  God wrote the Bible and Satan knows that.  I think it is a model of spiritual warfare for us to follow.  If our Lord needed to quote scripture to fend of the devil, how much more must we be equipped to battle in the same way?  Notice that Satan also quoted scripture in his attempt to tempt Jesus, but I found an interesting flaw in Satan's misuse of scripture.  In Matthew 4:5-6, Satan leads Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and says to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.  For it is written, "He shall give His angles charge concerning You" and "In their hands they shall bear You up, lest You dash Your foot against a stone."  Satan was quoting from Psalm 91 when he said this.  But if we look at Psalm 91 and find the quote, Satan left out the rest of the passage he was quoting:  "You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall tample under foot."  Hmm, Satan conveniently left that part of the quote from Psalm 91 out in his attempt to tempt Jesus!  (Psalm 91:11-13). 

How many times have you been attacked, whether deliberately or by some well-meaning person, with half a scripture that is used to ply you with guilt, accuse you of sin and failure, or in any other way lead you to doubt your walk with God?  If we do not know the scriptures or at least have the willingness and the Bibles to refer to, how many attacks against you will succeed, especially if they seem to come from a reliable source who is quoting God's word?

We must equip ourselves with the dagger of the Spirit, which is the word of God, by committing to memory those verses and promises we encounter in our daily study.  When a passage speaks to you, write it down, carry it with you, and during those times when we let our impatience rule (stuck in a traffic jam, waiting in a long checkout line while shopping, etc.), use that time to pull out the paper and practice memorizing that verse.  Then repeat this process with another verse and then another and still another until your dagger is sharpened and you are skilled in using it in those up close and personal battles of temptation and trial.  Our enemy is quite equipped to misquote scripture and use half a passage against us in a spiritual battle (especially leaving out the verses that state the enemy is a defeated enemy!).  If you can commit one verse a week to memory, you will be meeting the instructions to "take the sword [dagger] of the Spirit, which is the word of God," and you will know that you are equipped for the intimate spiritual warfare being described in Ephesians 6:13-17.  Our daggers are small (short passages of scripture), but the more we have in our possession (our memory), the sharper our daggers will be and the more effectively we will wield them during times of testing, temptation, and trial in spiritual warfare.  We are not to use these daggers against fellow Christians, but against the principalities and powers of this world that attack our minds and emotions with temptation, trial, or tests. 

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 5:20 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 11 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.

Step 11 Scripture Study 1

Psalm 19:14
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Colossians 3:16
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

Psalm 42:2
"I am thirsty for the living God. When can I go meet with Him?"

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 4:53 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 10 Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 
Step 10 Scripture Study 1

1 Corinthians 10:12
"So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" 
Philippians 1:6
"He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." 

Romans 12:2-3 
"And be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he should, but according to how God has given each man a measure of faith." 

These verses remind us to continue in humility, to think soberly about our capabilities and our life before God, to not over-reach beyond the gifts that God has given us. Only the Savior can save the world - we can't - and we are called only to do the part that we have been given in God's plan--no more and no less. By continuing to take personal inventory, we can stay real about our strengths and weaknesses, depending upon God for our strength and remaining confident, humble and honest with God and others.

Step 10 Scripture Study 2

2 John 1:8 
"Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." 

Recovery is hard work. We not only have to strive to live a normal life with all of its normal responsibilities, but we also have to continue to work the steps and be constantly vigilant against the possibility of our addictive behaviors returning to us. Here the apostle John is admonishing Christians to not lose what they have worked for.  In terms of recovery, this means for us to not slip back into old addictive behaviors. It means not to lose our freedom, which we have worked so hard and diligently to gain and maintain. In order to do this, it is imperative that we continue to take personal inventory as we go through life. In this way, we can maintain the hope that we will receive a full reward in the Lord.

Step 10 Scripture Study 3
Read 1 Peter 1:22-23, Luke 12:1-3, Ephesians 4:25-26, 2 Timothy 2:23-24, 2 Timothy 2:14-
16, I Corinthians 13:4-7, 1 Corinthians 13:11, Philippians 2:1-4, Romans 12:3, James 1:22

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 4:45 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 9 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 
Step 9 Scripture Study 1

Matthew 6:31-34
"So don't worry. Don't say, 'what will we eat? Or, 'what will we drink?' Or, 'what will we wear?' People who are ungodly run after all of those things. Your Father who is in heaven knows that you need them. But put God's Kingdom first. Do what He wants you to do. Then all of those things will also be given to you. So don't worry about  tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." 

Matthew 5:9 
"Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God." 
Jesus is telling us that when we are makers of peace, that we become truly children of God. The eighth and ninth steps are about making peace with those whom we have wronged, as much as is within our control to do. The usual practice is to sweep wrongs of the past under the rug and try to forget about them. But by making appropriate amends, we are able to go the second mile and often bring peace and goodness where there might have been lingering doubts or mistrust or confusion before. We can become peacemakers who are blessed as children of God.

Step 9 Scripture Study 2
Matthew 5:23-24 
"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath something against thee, leave thy gift aside the alter and go first be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift." 
We are told in clear terms here that we are to be reconciled with our brother if they have things against us. This means not only are we to be diligent in trying to make things right when there is resentment against us, but it also implies that we should be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others so that we can know if there is any lingering resentment or anger toward us. There could also be an implication that since they are a brother or sister in the Lord, then they will be reasonable and sensitive to God's leading so that when we sincerely try to be reconciled, that there will be true reconciliation. The party that holds something against us, whether Christian or not, may not accept our efforts at reconciliation; however, to work the program, we must make the attempt. We cannot control their response.

Step 9 Scripture Study 3

Matthew 5:25-26 
"Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him, lest at any time, the adversary delivers you to the judge, and the judge delivers you to the officer and you are cast into prison." 
This may be the corollary of the previous two verses for how to deal with the resentment of others. This time they are for our adversaries, those who are truly set against us and may not be in the family of God. Here we are to be very careful to not offend if possible, knowing that the consequences could be severe. And by agreeing that we have done wrong, that we were remiss or negligent in our dealings with them, can often be all that it takes to make their anger and resentment subside to something that is manageable.

Step 9 Scripture Study 4

Read 1 Peter 3:13, Luke 20:25, Ezekiel 33:14-15, Romans 13:7-8, Proverbs 25:21-22, and Matthew 25:40

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 4:37 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 8 Continued

Step 8 Scripture 4

Luke 19:8-10
"Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore it fourfold.'  And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.' "

Zacchaeus was the "chief among the tax collectors, and he was rich" (Luke 19:2). In those days it was common for tax collectors to take some extra tax for themselves to line their own pockets. We do not know if or how often Zacchaeus himself may have done this, and perhaps he had not even kept track. But when Jesus came to his house, Zacchaeus became a changed man. He wanted to set everything right, and part of setting everything right was to pay back anything that he had gotten unjustly, and not only to pay it back but to pay it back fourfold. This is an example of spontaneously wanting to make amends. And note the response of Christ to this announcement of Zacchaeus. Christ blesses him.

It is often easy once we have our addictive behavior behind us to look only forward and forget about people we may have hurt in the past.  Be here we see how blessed it can be to go further and to take the step of making amends to those we have wronged. In Zacchaeus' case, it brought the Lord to proclaim, 'This day is salvation come to this house . . "

Step 8 Scripture Study 5

Romans 12:18
"If it be possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men."

In step 8 we begin the process of trying to make peace with those around us whom we may have hurt. We are admonished here by the apostle Paul to "live in peace with all men." By making amends we do our part in helping to create peace where there might be resentment, hurt, and destruction in the wake of our addictive behaviors. The additional wisdom of this verse also give this qualification--"as much as depends on you." We may do our best to make amends and these amends may not be accepted by others. It is the right of others to decide whether they want to forgive us or not (their actions are not our responsibility; it is a matter between them and God). What we have control over is in making the proper amends. If other people reject our attempts and continue in sin in their part of the behavior, we are required to make an effort at amends and depart from those who persist in participating in sin, hurt, and destruction.

First we make a list then we "become willing,"--again, this is an example of our doing our part and God doing His, because "become willing" is another work that has to happen in the heart. When compiling our list, we should not only list those we have harmed by "word and deed" and the "sins of commission and omission," but also since unforgiveness can be a root cause of much trouble in our lives, we should list those persons who have harmed us as well. We understand that in some of these areas there may still be a great deal of pain, but God wants us to trust Him so that He can heal us.

Step 8 Scripture Study 6

Read Proverbs 14:9, John 13:34-35, Matthew 5:21-24, 1 John 2:9, Matthew 7:12, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:27-28, and 1 Peter 4:7-8.

It is important to consider some special circumstances when preparing to do Step 8, to "become willing to make amends."

First, even if we are willing, it is not appropriate to make amends if the end result would hurt another party. For example, if you have engaged in adultery with another in any form, it is not appropriate to make amends to the other person's spouse; it is up to you to pray for guidance if you are married and want to make amends to your spouse.

Second, there may be people who feel we have wronged them when in fact we have not; we are not required to make amends for someone else's problems. It is up to you to pray and decide if God is leading you to deal with this person in any way; perhaps making amends is not appropriate, but the willingness to have a discussion to help the other person understand how they have misinterpreted something we are not responsible for.

Third, be prepared for people we have wronged who are not willing to forgive because the pain or results of the circumstances either benefit them in some way or they are unwilling to give up their grudge against us. We are to "become willing" and let God open the doors to confession and forgiveness. God forgives; people do not always forgive. Be ready. Their unforgiveness is not your responsibility.

Fourth, if the person we have wronged has participated in the sin that caused the harm and is STILL participating in the sinful lifestyle, we may be willing to make amends, but pray for guidance as to whether contact with this person is God's will.

Finally, we may have wronged someone who is no longer available for us to make amends to--an unknown person we caused harm, a deceased person, a person who has moved away and is no longer in contact with you. Once again, your job is to "become willing" to make amends and let God open the doors for how this may be accomplished in unusual circumstances.

Pray without ceasing and let Him lead you in this step, as in all steps.

Luke 8:38
"Give and it shall be given you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." 

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 4:33 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 8 Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 8 Scripture Study 1

Matthew 5:23,24
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."

Luke 6:31
"Do to others as you would have them do to you."

Romans 12:17-21
"Don't pay back evil with evil. Be careful to do what everyone thinks is right. If possible, live in peace with everyone. Do that as much as you can. My friends, don't try to get even. Leave room for God to show His anger. It is written, ‘I am the One who judges people. I will pay them back,' says the Lord. Do just the opposite. Scripture says, ‘If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, given them something to drink. By doing these things, you will pile up burning coals on their heads.  Don let evil overcome you. Overcome evil by doing good."

Step 8 Scripture Study 2

Leviticus 6:1-5

"And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 'If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor, or is he has found what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely--in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins, then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has deceitfully obtained, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found, or all that about which he has sworn falsely.  He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering."

The principle of making amends goes a long way back in scriptures. This passage is from the book of Leviticus, one of the books of the law written by Moses and is one of numerous passages from that book that tell of the requirements of the law of amends. In this case, it is for the sin of stealing, cheating or making a gain from threats or lies. The command is to make amends by returning the amount to the person and then also pay an additional 20% of the value of the item. In addition, it is necessary to bring an offering to the priest for this sin, a trespass offering. If we are a believer in Christ, then first of all we might give praise to God that Jesus has made this sacrifice on our behalf. We should realize that this grace for us cost a tremendous price for Christ and we should not take that lightly. If we are a Christian, then we believe that there has been a new dispensation, a new covenant between God and his people as given in the New Testament. However, the character of God remains the same in the New Testament and the Old Testament. It is the same God who is revealing Himself in both places. Nothing in the New Testament has overridden this principle, and in fact we are told in the New Testament that our righteousness should "exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees" (Matthew 5:20). It would seem entirely appropriate, and would be pleasing to God if we took this principle of making amends from the book of Leviticus and applied it in our life. In verse 6:7, we are told that after this making of amends in our life that there would be forgiveness. We should not be surprised, then, that in the process of making amends, we too find a peace and forgiveness that we had never known before.

Step 8 Scripture Study 3

2 Samuel 12:1-13

"Then the Lord sent Nathan to David.  And he came to him, and said to him:  'There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds.  But the poor man had nothing, except one little lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children  It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a child to him.  And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.'  Then David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, 'As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!  And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.'  Then Nathan said to David, 'You are the man!  Thus says the Lord God of Isreal:  I anointed you king over Isreal, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.  I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Isreal and Judah.  And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!  Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?  You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.  Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.  Thus says the Lord:  Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.  For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Isreal, before the sun.'  then David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.'  And Nathan said to David, 'The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.' "

In this passages, we have an example of what might be called "forced amends;" it was based more on the judgment of God than the willingness of man's heart. David has committed adultery with Bathsheba and has had Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed in battle in order to cover up David's sin. When Nathan the prophet makes a parable for what David has done, then David becomes infuriated and sees the great injustice of it all and says that the amends should be fourfold. Then Nathan utters those lines that have been used in many literary works since "Thou art the man."

Indeed, our sin may or may not be the same as David's, but as an addict, we can surely find instances where someone can point to us and say, "Thou art the man" (or woman). We are guilty of taking the goodness and grace of God and of others and abusing it, ignoring it, or manipulating it into something selfish, arrogant, ugly, and evil.

We are the man. In this case, David had to pay fourfold for his sin, just as he himself had proclaimed in his judgment. In David's case, the judgment involved violence not departing from his own house and sexual immorality being rampant in his own family and David's shame made public to Israel. In this we see that God is a God of justice in spite of what relationship we may or may not have had with God before.  If we are believers in Christ, then we can legitimately hope for mercy through the blood of Christ. At the same time, the same God is the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament so we can legitimately expect judgment mixed with this mercy as well. In reading through the events that followed in David's life, it might be surmised that had David been more diligent in rooting out sin and become more aware of the sin in his life and those around him (for becoming aware of sin in our own lives and the lives of others can often go hand in hand), then we can imagine that some of the devastation might have been avoided later in his life.

That is what we might hope for in Christ--that by His grace we can be more diligent and careful and effective in rooting out sin in our lives and to see it more accurately in the world around us. We have this added grace through Christ. But amends still need to be made, consequences still need to be endured as we remain faithful to Christ, God will still need to prune us to bear fruit for Him. If we willingly embrace the notion of making amends and consciously make that effort, then that can open up a window for God's mercy and grace to flow in our lives and even possibly allow us to avoid some judgment from the Lord. At the very least, we can grow in Christ and our knowledge of Him as we endure whatever sufferings may come into our lives.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2008 3:47 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Thanks, Gators, and feel free to add scriptures appropriate to any of the steps and discussions!  God's richest blessings to you, my dear friend!

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