Friday, May 02, 2008

"Caring Christians"

I read a book written by J. Keith Miller titled A Hunger for Healing-The Twelve Steps as a Classic Model for Christian Spiritual Growth. A portion from Step 3 (Made a decision to Turn Our Will and Our Lives Over to the Care of God as We Understood Him) really hit home with a recent experience I went through. Check this out:

People coming into the Christian faith are told that they need to surrender their lives to Jesus as Savior, to renounce all sinful desires that draw them from the love of God, to put their whole trust in his grace and love and to follow and obey him as Lord. But I don't remember ever being told as a new Christian that my desire to control the people, places, and things in my life constituted Sin and was part of that surrender to Jesus Christ (unless my actions were immoral in some specifically enumerated way). So although I committed my life to Jesus and later asked God to fill my life with the Holy Spirit, it never occurred to me that I might be very sinful and get my life all snarled up by trying to "help" everyone (that is, get them to live the way I thought they should). And there was no Christian discipline in the groups to which I belonged that showed me how to face the control issues of my Sin-disease.

So I became a "caring Christian" committed to Jesus Christ, and I continued to be a manipulative controller without even knowing I was doing it, much less that some of the helping/controlling was abusive, self-centered (I needed to fix them so I'd feel all right), and sinful (putting myself in the center where only God should be and orchestrating other people's lives--including those of Christians in church programs).

Since my book Hope in the Fast Lane: A New Look at Faith in a Compulsive World came out, I have had many Christians tell me that they too are miserable because of their unconsciously controlling ways and other people's reaction ts to them. They report discovering in themselves a determination to direct the lives of the people around them. When their loved ones won't cooperate and see the light--the controller's light--things get worse. Finally, if the controllers are fortunate, they see that they are powerless to change anyone and that their whole life has become unmanageable and confused--though they may be deeply committed Christians--even ordained ministers.

Christians who are frustrated and blocked by their denied Sin despite their conscious commitment to God and Christ need a way to bring their control tendencies to God so they can be freed, find reconciliation and serenity, and get on with growing spiritually in Christ. If they discover a Twelve-Step program and take Steps One and Two, they are told that the way to unsnarl this tangle of worms and to get well from this disease is to make a decision to turn their "entire lives and wills" over to God, to let God be the producer, director, and healer of their lives and the lives of others around them.


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