The Promises state that we will realize God is doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves. Actually changing us. Does it work? For me
Journal Through Recovery
Episode 15 – Another Human Being
Step five means admitting the exact nature of our wrongs to God, ourselves, and to another human being? Seriously? Another human being? You mean I have to do this again?
Throughout my life I believed that healing was instantaneous. I thought that when God felt like it, He waved His magic wand and healed people. Like the miracles Jesus and the disciples and prophets did in the Bible. I thought healing was like when the woman touched the garment of Jesus and was immediately healed. Her bleeding stopped. That was healing to me. That is healing sometimes…only I thought that was the only way healing occurred. My belief or unbelief in any other way of healing limited my view of God and his sovereignty and purpose.
Because I believed healing was only immediate, I didn’t have room in my life or beliefs for any other type of healing. I believed God worked but I didn’t equate that to His divine plan for healing. So, I made an assumption, one that would impact the rest of my life. I assumed I wasn’t worthy of healing.
Unworthy of healing didn’t become my mantra. It became a barrier separating me and God. Prayers became pleas. Seeking a lasting relationship became imploring and bargaining with God to just step up this one time and I would forever follow Him daily. When He didn’t, when I didn’t see instantaneous miraculous healing, I didn’t see Him at work at all. No magical change meant no God at work.
My belief in God didn’t change. I knew He was real. Evidence of His creation surrounded me. Examples of Him at work escaped me. I missed Him in the every day. He was only miraculous to me. God became a one note musician. His symphony went on without me.
Because I didn’t see Him in the every day, there had to be a reason He didn’t perform those Biblical magical acts of transformation in my life. I prayed hard enough for change. Baptism didn’t do it. Bible study and church attendance didn’t either. The problem had to be me. My hidden sin, my litany of violations of His commands and of my vows to my wife and family, had to be too much to qualify for healing. I had done too much wrong.
The Bible doesn’t say that. It says things like “all have sinned and fall short” and “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us.” There is no “except for Keith” in there that I can find.
My wife discovered that I had contacted a previous affair partner after I promised I was in recovery. She warned me if I had acted out with anyone else, especially a friend of hers, we were done and I should just leave. I fully disclosed my complete sexual history, including acting out with that friend of hers, seven weeks later. I expected her to keep her promise and leave. She didn’t.
Our marriage continues to grow and heal gradually, not in the way I believed the only way for healing to occur. Healing for us and our marriage progresses slowly, a day at a time. My friend Corey told me that I didn’t see God at work in the small stuff, the daily stuff. He spoke truth. God works in all the stuff, big and small. In my life, in this moment, healing is a process.
Confession – Keith B – NotUnknown.com
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
I confessed my sins in secret. I didn’t spend a lot of time on it and didn’t see the importance. 1 John states the results of confession – forgiveness and purification from unrighteousness. But what if we don’t confess our sins? What happens then?
My life was an example of unconfessed sin and incorporated shame. My exposure to pornography and an unwanted sexual experience at an early age warped my view of my value to God and my ability to confess sin. I didn’t believe that confession to God or to others was possible. I thought my sin was more, different, and unforgivable. Sin and temptation meant judgment, not confession or grace.
Unconfessed sin rotted me from the inside. I had no true compass. I developed two selfs, my inner self and my outer self. My outer self is who I wanted to be, who I wanted the world to see, who I wanted my wife to see. I believed that if she ever saw my inner self, she wouldn’t stay with me. So I didn’t allow that to happen. Confession remained unthinkable.
Confession isn’t something I entered of my own will. I was exposed. My unconfessed sin was found out. I had a choice – continue hiding my true self alone or confess. Confession for me came with no guarantees. I didn’t know if my marriage would survive.
Confession did transform me. I turned over my inner self to God, something I hadn’t done before. Confessing to him meant opening myself to others as well. I started with my counselor, then my accountability partners, then my wife. My choices caused great harm to so many. My confession gave them hope that I could give my life to God to redeem me.
Obedience to God’s command to confess my sins to Him and to others led to overt examples of His unending grace. My wife heard my confession. She was damaged by my sin. She had hope because of my confession. My obedience allowed her to see that I could be honest and transparent with her. My willingness to disclose and to validate with a polygraph examination allowed her to see that I had been honest with God and had confessed to Him, seeking forgiveness and grace.
Life today doesn’t look perfect. My wife and I have a relationship unlike any time in our twenty-eight years of marriage. We reveal our flaws and our struggles to each other. The damage I have caused her through my violation of her trust and our marriage vows hasn’t miraculously disappeared. We practice honesty, though. Daily. We confess to God and to each other. We confess our shortcomings and celebrate His grace.
Step Four means looking deep into me. Way deeper than I ever imagined.