Advent 2012: Setting Captives Free
…from depravity to purity
Joe stood at the front door of Christ Community Church hoping his friend, Jim, would show up for the recovery meeting. But as he heard the music starting, there was still no sign of him. Joe checked his watch; it was 7:15, so he went on inside to the meeting.
Jim was driving down Highway T towards the Interstate when he spotted Christ Community on the right. The church sign announced Celebrate Recovery Meeting Tonight at 7:00, but Jim whizzed on by. He had made up his mind that he needed a night away from all his worries, so he bought a six-pack at the Gas-N-Go and headed on down to the Gentleman’s Club and Adult Arcade. But just as he pulled into the parking lot, he surprised himself with a bad case of nervous sweats.
Jim sat there with the motor running, cracked open the window and pulled the tab on his second beer. He watched as a trucker slinked his way inside the blacked-out front door of the triple-X funhouse. Then he watched as another guy, hiding under a hoodie, came out and headed quickly to his minivan. As Jim watched the minivan pass by, he spotted a baby asleep in the guy’s back seat. He felt his stomach knot up as he recognized the depth of such desperation and depravity. He thought about how he had acted-out through the years, putting himself and his family at risk. He pictured his little family in the hospital room, each one in tears of pain because of him. He knew how that felt. He had grown up with that same relationship with his father. He had sworn he wouldn’t be like his old man, but yet, that’s exactly what had happened.
Jim threw the opened beer out the window, followed by the rest of the six-pack, and skidded out of the gravel parking lot. It was 7:30. He headed back up Highway T, eventually slowing down at the church. He turned in and found a parking spot. Pulling his hood up over his head, he got out and walked to the front door. Through the glass he could see his friend, Joe, sitting on the back row next to an empty chair. He took a deep breath and walked inside.
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. Proverbs 26:11
Advent Application: Jim’s life was a total disaster. A childhood victim of abuse and an adult addicted to sex and alcohol, he was now facing divorce from the one woman who had ever really loved him and who had just given birth to their second child, a precious little girl. His mother was in the hospital after being abused by his father, a drunk, who had apparently shot himself in the head. He was a total train wreck. So what else would someone like Jim do, but return to the very thing that he had used all his life to numb his pain, sex and alcohol.
But this time, something was different. Seeing the pitiful display of men slinking in and out of the Gentlemen’s Club and then witnessing an innocent baby being put in harm’s way because his father was unable to think of anyone but himself, helped him come to a point of clarity and decision. He could walk in and repeat his folly, or he could take the scary 1st step of recovery. And that’s what he did. He admitted he was powerless over his addictions and compulsive behaviors and that his life had become unmanageable.
It’s interesting how it took a baby to get his attention. First his own newborn baby daughter had been born. Her birth served as a catalyst for him returning, even if for a brief moment, to his little family. And then, secondly, it was the baby asleep in the back seat of that minivan that sobered him up to see the depravity of his addiction. But most importantly, it was the Baby in the manger that would ultimately make a difference in his life. If Jim commits to continuing the 12 steps of recovery, he will soon be given the chance to choose Jesus Christ as his Higher Power. It’s that same Jesus who was born so long ago in order to set the captives free. Captives, like Jim, who were bound by the chains of addiction. The baby Jesus was born to set him free from those chains. If the chains of sexual addiction bind you, including the habitual use of pornography, there’s an online support ministry that can help. Check out www.xxxchurch.com.
To read this story from the beginning, click here.