Thursday, January 21, 2016


My Tenth Year Testimony

My thinking this morning jumped the fence and ran across a field before I could catch up with it. I was reading in I John 4 about recognizing the Holy Spirit in life around us and the admonition to LOVE, especially one another, because that is the way we know that the Spirit is alive in us. The chapter is all about LOVE.

Then my thinking jumped to an upcoming opportunity to share my recovery testimony and it ran off to a whole different subject: HATE

We see a lot of hate all around us, and many of us hate, or are tempted to hate, the people we see doing all these evil things. Then, perhaps, we mantra the phrase, “Hate the sin, but love the people!” This is an important proposition for Christians, but one we have trouble grasping at times.

But my mind, being set on recovery, did not hang around in that neighborhood at all. It ran right into the first words I spoke in my breakthrough to recovery: I HATE BEING ANGRY!

This was the key that turned the lock on my slavery to anger. And I was not the one who initiated that phrase. In fact, I was not sure who said that; and it stopped me in my tracks to think that I had said that. Why? Because I had always LOVED my anger. It was my go to, feel good about myself addiction.

Now, ten years later, I can say HATE is what brought me back to sanity. Hating being angry gave me reason to hope for a life not controlled by the anger. Hating being angry, and HATING the person I became every time I became angry, were tools God used to bring me out of the darkness of anger and into the light of LOVE.

So, as I mulled over these thoughts I developed a sermon on that subject:

If you want to recover from any Hurt, Hang Up or Habit (Recovery speak), then you need to let yourself HATE IT. You cannot play with it. You cannot continue to love it. More than that, you cannot continue to love the person you are—or become--when you submit to it. You must HATE that person. You must hate the ugly person you become and you must hate the addiction that brings that person out.

The ugly truth is that most addictions are loved.

That is why they are so hard to give up. They are like little teddy bears to the addicted. We reach for them, grab them to us, and hug them tightly. If recovery is going to work—it is TIME TO HATE.

We all know that “God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but shall have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) We also know that God is LOVE and that because God loves us, we can love others. But God does HATE something: He HATES sin. And we need to HATE our sin and the person we become when we sin.

God loves; God IS love; God sees us through loving eyes and aches to have us see ourselves as He sees us. But all we seem able to see is the helplessness and hopelessness of our lives. God has plans for all of us. But we are fully capable of thwarting those plans with our choices to continue loving and participating in our addictions.

It is time to start HATING. Not the people around us. Not even their sinful behavior and contemptible actions; but our own contemptible actions and behaviors. It is time to hate our addictions with a passion and to give them up to the power of Christ to heal us and to love us through it all.

Ten years later, I still have to be aware of the possibility of falling into anger again. I still have to watch out for all the little ways anger calls me back into its fold. I still struggle to keep myself clean from thoughts and habits which bring strength to the anger that wants to control me.

God loves me and He sees me through the blood of Christ, a veil I cannot see. The blood of Christ had paid for my sins and God has chosen to forget them. Thus, the need for us to dump our garbage and not carry it around with us. Confess it. Dump it by talking about it as a past thing, and never look back except to share your pain with others in pain.

He knows who I really am and He guides me into becoming stronger in the faith that keeps me at His side in all that I do. My weakness is His strength.

His plan is to make it all count for His Glory and for my Joy. He doesn't remember the screwed up me; He remembers the child He placed in my mothers womb and the child He has been guiding all along. He sees me as His child and loves me more than I can imagine.

At least a part of His plan is for my screw ups to help others with their screw ups. I hope my screw ups and healing have helped you. Praise the Lord! God is good.

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