Spiritual Mentors, Companions and a Serious Investigation – Reflections on Principle 4 of Celebrate Recovery

by

Bill Peters

Principle 4 of Celebrate Recovery
Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. (Steps 4 and 5)
“Happy are the pure in heart.”
Matthew 5:8

Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!” “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.
1 Samuel 20: 30-34 (NIV)

The first Space Shuttle Disaster was Challenger which was lost during an explosion as it took off from Cape Canaveral on January 28, 1986, killing all seven people on board. NASA suspended shuttle flights for two years. All shuttle missions were halted while a special commission appointed by President Reagan determined the cause of the accident and what could be done to prevent such disasters from happening again. I was involved in an engineering project for the space shuttle in the late 80s as part of the investigation. The test included the use of hydrogen and oxygen gases which are a recipe for a fiery explosion if not handled correctly. Wisdom dictated that an inventory of lessons learned from the past would be useful to preventing someone in getting hurt or stopping a hangup in testing and using a bad procedure as a regular habit of the space shuttle launch and flight. A concentrated program of investigation of a team of experts and workers was pulled together after the Challenger accident. After following some significant steps and principles of testing and evaluation the space shuttle flew once again.

I can see application of the Space Shuttle recovery program for my personal life. A wise Christian man who is hurting or has difficulty in this world (which is all of us) should make a spiritual appraisal of his life and reflect upon the past events and circumstances and their impact upon his life. He needs Jesus Christ and His Word to help him. One needs to examine how he has been blessed by God but also he needs to apprise his hurts, habits, and hang-ups that currently comprise his or her attitudes and way of life. Until a person takes the time to do this and reconcile this list with Jesus and a trusted Christian friend then he is subject to a life lost like a Challenger with no future for another flight. To fully be reconciled before God through Jesus, a man ought to inventory the hurts and sins of the past which are like ill-thrown spears. These can kill the soul unless forgiveness is given to others as needed when you have been hurt. Also amends must be made to others when you have hurt others.  This was not a foreign concept to David in the Bible.  David had the prophet Samuel who guided him along the path as a mentor and sponsor and he had Jonathan, King Saul’s son, as a friend and accountability partner. I need the same kind of process and people in my life as any Christian and the ministry that has helped me is called Celebrate Recovery. CR has the process and the people to help me and it has helped thousands of others around the world in all kinds of churches for many years.

Yes, just like David and Jonathan, I have spears in my life that I have hurled at others and those I have received.  I have had Challenger tragedies which needed a thorough investigation of facts. I am now a part of a Celebrate Recovery program which is addressing the spears I have thrown at others in anger, pride and in sins I have committed.  Celebrate Recovery is also a program which has dealt with the spears which I have received as hurts from others. In CR, Principle 4 of 8 which is based on the Beatitudes of Christ, I have found personally that the rubber meets the road of recovery and healing for me. This is where I get down and dirty and do some serious soul searching and do a spiritual moral inventory. In doing my inventory, the Celebrate Recovery program has given me some companions called a sponsor and an accountability partner to walk beside me.

When seeking recovery via CR, it is vital that I do not proceed without a sponsor that God gives me. He is one who has walked the path and knows the steps and principles.  An accountability partner or two won’t cut it for this principle but they are absolutely valuable as friends of recovery and healing. What’s the difference between a sponsor and an accountability partner? I am glad you asked. A sponsor is someone who has been through the steps and has completed each one with a sponsor of their own.  A sponsor will not let me take any shortcuts and will seriously support the correct process in completing a CR step study. Who better to teach than someone who’s walked in my shoes before me? They are like Samuel or a Nathan was to David in the Bible.

I also need some trusted companions, some Jonathans, on my side too. An accountability partner is someone who is in the same boat that I am and can relate to my hurts, habits and hangups. I can call on them for daily conversation and prayer. An accountability partner, however  is a companion in faith who hasn’t been through the CR steps before and is one who also needs guidance.  But an accountability partner is someone in whom I can call and can cry to or vent to or spill my guts to, but not someone who’s experienced in guiding me through recovery when I have questions.

Today I am on the road of recovery and doing principal 4  the right way, God’s way, is the best way for me to find the healing I desperately need in my life.

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