Brothers in the Struggle
Two are better than one . . . For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
I go to a gym where I have a group of guys who continually spur me on to push harder and go faster. I simply would never work that hard on my own and I probably wouldn’t go every day if I didn’t know those guys would be there. With these brothers in the struggle, I am much better off than I’d be on my own.
This is the opposite experience of my destructive behavior. Ashamed, alone, and in the dark, I have always hidden my evil deeds, isolating myself from anyone who might object. As long as no one knew, I could continue pursuing my poisonous appetites.
This is why King Solomon, in today’s passage, insisted that we need brothers (or sisters). In life, recovery and faith, we were not made to go it alone. We were created to bear one another’s burdens, lightening each other’s load. We cannot have faith or recover for anyone else – the guys at the gym cannot exercise for me – but we can encourage and motivate each other to keep up the fight.
We are simply better together than we are alone. This is as true at the gym as it is in the rest of life. We need accountability and we need companions in the fight, but this does not happen automatically. As with my addiction, it is our nature to hide our struggles, pretending they do not exist. Then, we suffer alone, in the dark.
If we want to know life, faith and recovery, we must be very purposeful in what we do and with whom we do it. We don’t get in shape sitting at the bar with bar friends. We don’t recover well alone. If we want to know faith, life and recovery, we must find others who want to go in the same direction and we must spur each other on to growth in that direction.