That’s a Terrible Decision
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel . . . Galatians 1:6
Chemical dependency treatment centers traditionally use daily group therapy to help their clients learn how to live in recovery. While in treatment, a counselor will facilitate the sessions, but the group relies heavily on the input of other clients to provide insight and feedback. Then, after treatment, the one seeking recovery will often attend meetings, where there are no professional counselors – just those who’ve struggled like he has. At first glance, this may seem like a bad idea – to leave the addict in the hands of other addicts. After all, if they’ve made such a mess of their lives, what could they have to offer?
Even those new in treatment though often have surprising insight into the flawed thinking of those around them. They may be blind when it comes to their own bad choices, but this is why they need each other. Individually, they struggle with introspection, but put them in a group and they often have excellent awareness of the poor decisions of everyone else. So, when one client comes up with a terrible idea – which he thinks is great – the rest will see clearly see it as destructive and call it out. That’s a terrible idea.
This was Paul’s tone in today’s passage. In his letter to the Galatians, he called out those early Christians who were turning to a different gospel for salvation. He shook his head in astonishment at their stupidity and he called them out for it.
This is why we need each other. We’re often blind to our own foolishness. When we want something evil, we’re surprisingly able to justify it. When we see others doing the exact same thing though, we’re usually quite adept at diagnosing the diseased thinking. In faith and recovery, we must use this to our advantage.
Every week, I sit down for coffee with a like-minded group of guys who’re also striving to abandon the old life to follow Christ. I let them know what’s going on in my life and I listen to what’s going on in theirs. When someone starts justifying evil, the group is pretty good at identifying the madness and calling it out. Shaking their collective heads, they’ll confront the one who is straying. That’s a terrible idea.
It’s not easy to admit, but we need each other. When we’re struggling, if we want help, we must find others who’ve been there. When we can’t fix it alone, we must seek out those who can help.