I was at an AA meeting where a person shared their story from addiction to sobriety. The telling of their addiction made us laugh, made us cry, and turned our hearts toward pity. But the telling of their move toward sobriety gave us something very different. In the midst of honest admission of the struggle, and backsliding, and repeated failure to stay sober, the teller gave us hope. The community believed this person could be sober. Their sponsor believed they could stay sober. The community and sponsor believed in the person even when the person didn’t believe in themselves. The community pointed the person toward hope even when the person didn’t have hope for themselves.
Strong, healthy communities are a refuge of hope for those inside and outside the community. AA’s mission, as I see it, is to reach the addict and help them into a life of sobriety. They are geared to reach out to others by being a community of support for each other. Do you see parallels between what they do and what we, as a church, are called to do?
We are called to share our story of what Jesus is doing in our lives. We are invited to share our story—the honest struggle to live like Jesus—and inspire hope. We are to believe in Jesus and believe the best about each other even when folks don’t believe in themselves. We are to reach those who have not experienced Jesus to help them into kingdom living by being a community of support for each other.
At the start of this New Year, I’d like to challenge you to (re)discover your story. How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior and Lord? What difference does knowing Jesus make in your life? How have you seen Jesus in action this week? Your story is important. Your story can give hope to another. And your community is surrounding you to give you the support you need.