The national statistics are not good for people who are battling addiction. At best 30% get right, 30% are always in an up and down battle that may or may not end wrong. And a whopping 40% end up incarcerated, in treatment or in a pine box because of it. So when someone beats the odds to be in that 30% who make it, we celebrate!
Sounds a lot like the story of the lost sheep. Even though the odds of finding it and it's safe return are low, God would leave the other 99 to try to find it. So He and those rejoicing angels have a party when a lost sinner comes home, and not just a party but an eternal celebration.
Pause here for a moment and parallel the story of the prodigal son and consider his brother. Imagine how he felt always trying to do right, and here comes his wild man brother who gets the fatted calf and fancy cloak. Jealousy, envy, holier than thou....fill in your blanks. Maybe today there are some who feel like addicts should never celebrate finally getting it right, but from what I read, that's not biblical or Christ like.
What Jesus taught me was never to give up on anyone, despite how far they fall away. Always be ready to welcome them with open arms when they return with remorse. And if they become a model of healing that others can take hope in then give God the glory, and never consider yourself any better, just be happy God can claim another victory over darkness.
Maybe that's why Jesus ate with the despised tax collectors and notorious sinners, he saw their potential instead of their credentials. He saw their need rather than their greed. He saw a story of redemption not perfection. He saw you, he saw me and he sees that old broken down man on the street corner begging for money, and I would bet his words are something like, "that's my guy, wait and see".
So let's all celebrate anyone who has the courage to make a major change, they need our help to continue to fight the battle. And those that have always gotten it right, please be an encourager not a discourager!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.