Friend or foe

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12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The world is populated with friends. This is because we are all sinners, and most people, deep down in their spiritual sensibilities, know this. So if we think of the Twelve Steps as applying to sinners instead of just alcoholics, then the whole world is a potential AA meeting, or in this case, it would be an SA meeting: Sinners Anonymous.

This is not what I learned growing up, however. I grew up prejudiced against anybody who wasn’t a Christian, which was pretty much everybody I didn’t know. But listen to what Jesus said: “Whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:39). Or, in other words: Unless a person is an outright proclaimed enemy of the gospel, he/she can be considered a friend. That means there are lots of friends out there waiting to be claimed.

These are actually statements of differing worldviews. One has the world full of friends, the other has it full of enemies. How you think about the world determines which reality is true for you.

I think as Christians in this culture, we have made lots of enemies we didn’t have to make. We have drawn lines in the sand that were not there in the first place, and accused people on the other side of the line for the crime of being over there when we drew it. (We never gave them a chance, in other words.) It’s almost as if we have had to create and maintain a good supply of enemies in order to fulfill this self-proclaimed animosity with the world that incorrectly defines us.

This is not a good way to behave when representing the God of second chances — the God who, if He had not been abundantly gracious would never have called us His friends, and would never have given us even a first chance. I think it best to assume there are a lot of friends of God out there, just waiting to be found.

As the writer of Hebrews put it: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). That’s truly giving the benefit of a doubt to those who are not “of us.” It’s a good place to begin.

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4 Responses to Friend or foe

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Loved reading Today’s Catch…<3

  2. Jesus Aguilar says:

    Good morning Jesus Aguilar and I am alcoholic. By God’s Grace I am sober today.
    We carry this message – We have been given a purpose, now we do it. Do we chose who gets it or do we carry open for everyone to see?
    The answer is simple – “in all our affairs” everywhere we go, and with everyone we interrelate. We take no prisoners, we are no better, we are no worst, we just are. We see everyone and treat everyone with Love and Tolerance. This is our new code for living.
    Have a sober day, praise be to God for all the blessings
    Jesus Aguilar

    • Sandie says:

      God bless you Jesus…for “running the race” daily with Jesus as your coach and biggest fan! He’s waiting for us all at the ‘finish line.’ and all the spiritual sweat equity we’ve exerted will prove to have been more than worth it!

  3. Sandie says:

    Somehow Christians missed what it means to ” be IN the world, but not OF it.” So, to make life easier, they made the separation between ‘sacred’ and ‘worldly.’ Christian rock music was devil-inspired, if a book didn’t have a ‘Christian’ outlook (What IS that anyway?) it was banned, and we sure didn’t go to ANY movies, and above all…WE DID NOT DANCE! Tell me, who has a better reason to sing and dance, if not a believer? Thank you John, for having the courage to break out of that mold! Thank you for throwing a spiritual rock through the window of the citadel I was starting to build, complete with (as Petra, one of those evil Christian rock bands put it!) “rose-colored stained glass windows.” The attitude still galls me and is the reason I haven’t been to any church in quite awhile. I know, when the time is right, the Spirit will lead me/drag me back….but that time is not yet.
    To everyone reading this – PLEASE, PLEASE live your life as YOU! With all our bumps, bruises, scars, bad attitudes…with all our sins….remember this – GOD CREATED YOU IN HIS IMAGE! You carry a part of Him in you that no one else can! To deny ‘You’ – you deny Him. So don’t try to attain that ‘perfect’ Christian standing that some well-meaning people will try to mold you in. It’s a lie and will take you out of the game, basically your life…which is alright with Satan. Okay – time to get off my soapbox….God bless all of you who share your heart’s thoughts honestly. I pray it will give others courage to do the same!

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