A Place To Share

Is the church a place where sinners can freely come? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, my wife and I were at Celebrate Recovery, as we often are on Monday nights. Generally, when someone says something they introduce themselves by saying their name and what their struggle is. Last night, I’m sitting at my table when I hear someone say his name and say “And I struggle with pornography.”

I had heard that kind of thing several times before, but this time, I couldn’t shake it. The raw candidness of the moment struck me. It might be different if this was an audience of just men, but it wasn’t. This was an audience of men and women.

And yet, in this place, there is no condemnation, which was amazing to me. Picture the idea of a guy who can stand up with mixed audience and say this kind of thing. This means that this guy is openly admitting to women that he has a problem with viewing women as sexual objects and they could be included in that group.

Yet if you know anything about a good Celebrate Recovery group, grace is a major part of it. There was forgiveness there entirely and people do accept one another in spite of our sinful selves. We know we cannot truly condemn another because we have our own struggles.

Contrast this to another situation I’ve seen recently. A friend of mine wrote an article on the LGBT community and Chick-Fil-A. What a shock it was to me when it was shared in an apologetics group I belong to with the claim that it was pro-LGBT and that by implication, Ratio Christi is being pro-LGBT. Why? Because the article opposes shaming homosexuals and that’s what we need to do.

Now I am not opposed to shaming per se. The question is who do we do it to and why? When we encounter people with sinful struggles, is it right to shame them for those struggles? I don’t see this going on with Jesus in the Gospels. The ones that get shamed are the ones that think they’re entirely alright.

We have a problem in how those dealing with sin see the church today. When you look in the New Testament, sinners aren’t scared to come to Jesus. How many people who are struggling with sin are scared to come to church today? If we are supposed to represent Jesus and they weren’t scared to Jesus but are scared to come to us, we’re not doing a good job.

This isn’t to say that we’re never tough on sin. Sometimes, some people need someone to look them in the eye and tell them they’re participating in sinful behavior. That’s a very delicate time and should be handled with precision and care. Many of us who are Christians have appreciated someone getting blunt with us and saying such.

I am thankful that there are places that Christians can go and share their struggles and hopefully, that will extend to non-Christians as well. Anyone should be able to go to your average church and say what’s really going on and if you can’t, well, perhaps we’re not being Jesus like we should. Grace and truth both must be a part of all that we do. Truth without grace will be just a bludgeon. Grace without truth will be a license. Find the balance.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The One Year Chip

What does it take to overcome? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night was a momentous night for my wife. She and I are part of Celebrate Recovery and my wife has a battle against self-harm. This is where you take a blade of some kind such as a pair of scissors. You then cut yourself. Why would anyone do that? When I first heard about it, it made no sense, but for people like this, it becomes a way of releasing endorphins and short circuits any anxieties that they have. Of course, there are dangers. Those in the medical profession could say more, but one I have frequently been told about is staph infections.

Allie has been in a battle with this and while many times she came close to the one year mark, she always fell short somewhere along the way and had to start all over again. As the time drew closer to this, she got more and more nervous afraid she was going to blow it. Fortunately, she did no such thing.

Yesterday, we went to see a friend of ours from our Protestant Church who is a cosmetologist. She had agreed to help Allie with her make-up for the big presentation last night. Allie said later it was one of the rare nights in her life that she felt beautiful. She took a picture of herself on the way to the event.

We got there and I opened the door to the church telling everyone to greet Miss America. So many people were amazed with how she looked. For me, I told her regularly to remember there was a man who said she was beautiful all along and that was without make-up.

In the end, Allie did get her one year chip. She had been of the mindset many times that she wouldn’t make it. At one point, she was really tempted and said, “Who cares about a stupid chip?” At times last night, I told her, “Well, honey, isn’t it just a stupid chip?” She knew what I was talking about and had to concede it wasn’t.

Some of you might be thinking it is just a stupid chip. It’s not. It’s a symbol. It’s a token of a victory that one has had over temptation and sin. Let’s be clear also that definitely addictions come from sin and cutting is such a case. So let’s see that one year chip.

Her Dad also came for the event.

And here she is again with her chip.

If there’s any great lesson I told Allie to get from this, it’s one we all need to hear. Tell that inner voice to shut up. We all know that voice. It’s the voice that condemns us and tells us to give up and that we’re not good enough and that we’ll never make it or whatever it says for you. Last night, Allie showed that inner voice that it was wrong. Hopefully, it will happen consistently.

And that can happen for you as well. If you are struggling with an addiction of some kind, please go to Celebrate Recovery and enroll there. If you are struggling with cutting, definitely go and do that. You are loved just as you are by God, and Allie would tell you it was only through reliance on God that she got this chip.

Princess. Please also know that your husband is super proud of you and remember that he has also always said you’re beautiful even before the make-up. Your true beauty comes from within and it makes your exterior so much more amazing. You are the woman who captivates me to this day still and I love you greatly.

In Christ,
Nick Peters