I have come to believe that there is nothing I cannot talk about at Celebrate Recovery. That does not mean I have talked about everything at Celebrate Recovery. As a matter of fact, as I prepared the testimony I will share when I am in Mexico next week, I realized there are things people do not know about me. Even things that people at CR do not know about me. Things that might turn out to be really hard to talk about.
At CR, I have publicly talked about pornography, lust, masturbation, same-sex attraction, sexual abuse and a lot of other things that were not easy to admit. But apparently if I prepare a testimony about how God has provided for me, I discover there are still parts of my life I was hoping I never had to admit.
I have no idea why I was hoping never to have to bring them out in the light. Bringing things out in the light has changed my life. Oh, but those moments when my pride made me a fool. Those are the moments I grit my teeth and loathe to tell. Be it lust! Be it pain! Be it anger! I will speak of it. But pride? Must I tell what a fool I was? Manipulation? ugh, I loathe that one, too. I clearly still struggle with both.
But one thing I have noticed at CR, the more we talk about and admit to each other, the more we talk about and admit to each other. We all admit a little more than the last person until our hearts have begun to confess their deepest secrets – the ones we thought we would never share. I think the process takes us from fearful to fearless. Because when my dirty laundry is out of the bag and all aired out, what do I have to hide?
Today I felt pretty overwhelmed by the opportunities God is giving me. Some would say I received a promotion in ministry these last few weeks, but I have been thinking about it and come to the conclusion that no such thing exists. I have come to the conclusion there is not vertical movement in the kingdom of God but only horizontal. I could be wrong, but consider this.
Yes, in Luke 19 Jesus tells a parable about various servants who receive differing amounts of money from their master while the master goes to a foreign country to be crowned king. The servants are to use this money to make more money for the master while he is away. When the master returns as a king, he rewards the servants according to their work by putting them in charge of differing numbers of cities. But I do not think this constitutes vertical movement. The corresponding parable in Matthew 25 reads “I will put you in charge of many things.”
In western society this might be considered a vertical move, but I have been considering this. In the kingdom of heaven, I do not think the job title changed. It began with servant; it ended with servant. The job description just changed. The one with five bags of gold was no better than the one with two. Just different. How else could I explain Matthew 23:9-12 and Matthew 20:24-28 to myself? I think there is only horizontal movement. I cannot go up from here, but I can do something different than I am doing now. I can surrender more to His call to service. I can say ‘yes’ everyday when He asks me to follow Him just a little more closely.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Matthew 20:25-28
And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. – Matthew 23:9-12