Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.'
Rev. Susan Smith Guest Columnist
In the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke the Pharisees asked the disciples “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard them and said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” The Lord is transforming and healing many of us sinners through 12 step programs with principles founded in scripture.
We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive unhealthy behaviors, and our lives had had become unmanageable. Romans 7:18 “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Lamentations 3:40 “let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.”
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs. James 5:16a “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
Humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 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.”
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 1 Corinthians 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out. Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sigh O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer”
Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and practice these principles in all our affairs. Galatians 6:1 ‘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.”
If you have a problem that is making your life unmanageable, please contact me and I will help direct you to a 12-step recovery group for help.
Rev. Smith is the Associate Pastor of Exodus Missionary Outreach Church www.exodusmissionaryoutreachchurch.org and she can be reached at 828-962-8196, firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 3311, Hickory, NC 28603