Fake Faith and Recovery
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8
The 12th step of AA teaches that the addict in recovery must carry the message of recovery to others. Knowing this, the manipulative addict, still using, will pretend to carry that message in an attempt to fool others into believing he’s in recovery when he is not. He will encourage sobriety in others and perhaps even invite them to AA meetings. Living a lie, he tries to hide that lie with a facade of pseudo-recovery.
I’ve done this. While relapsing myself, I tried to help others in their addiction. I knew it was expected of me and I wanted it to be real, but I knew I was a charlatan. Unfortunately, I’ve done this with my faith as well. Addicted and living only for myself, I tried to balance out my failure by telling others that they should live for God. Maybe I fooled some, but I didn’t fool myself and I certainly didn’t fool God.
In today’s passage, just before he physically left this earth, Jesus told his disciples that they would be filled with, and transformed by, his Holy Spirit. The outcome of this indwelling was that they would carry the gospel of Christ to the world. This was Jesus’ final command to his followers, and it is our purpose as followers of Christ. If we claim to be Christians, this isn’t optional. If we truly follow Jesus, we must tell others what he’s done for us.
The prerequisite for telling others of our transformation, is of course, that we have some story to tell. Some of us though, have attempted to obey Jesus’ command, simply because it’s expected of us. Still living for ourselves, having experienced no transformation, we feel compelled to tell others how they should live.
This is profound hypocrisy. This is like a drunk telling others how to get sober. This is like an obese glutton telling others how to lose weight. As Christians, we don’t need to wait until we’re perfect to encourage others to follow Christ, but we do need to have some authentic story to tell, or else we’re living a lie. We may fool others and we may even fool ourselves, but we don’t fool God.