This is what I struggle with most for those who claim to follow Christ and yet have no compassion for those who have wandered through difficult places. In an email last week, a former pastor who has battled alcohol addiction for decades added this comment at the end of the email:
You also have no idea how much your acceptance and compassion for my addiction was received. I have only shared with two nonaddicts outside of family in 30 plus years of recovery as I learned most do not take it well. Thank you for helping me in my listening journey.
Here’s what I wrote him back:
It saddens me that those who claim to follow Jesus can’t hold each other’s pain and weakness with love and compassion. That means they are either unaware of their own or they don’t know how to be compassionate to themselves. Pretense is their refuge, and that’s a pretty sad place to live.
I understand his reluctance to share that story with people who aren’t ready to hold it. That’s just wise. But I’m glad he shared it with me, and I could appreciate the courage it took to face his addiction and let God walk him into freedom. It wasn’t an easy road; it rarely is.
His struggle with addiction does not diminish him in the least as a follower of Jesus; it just makes his story all the more extraordinary. I’m sorry that he had to go through such deep waters, but who wouldn’t want to celebrate the fruit of that journey with him?
Compassion is what God pours into our brokenness. When you struggle, drink fully of his compassion, and then you’ll be able to naturally share that same compassion with others without having to manufacture it.
If you want to join us for the next Jake Colsen Book Club gathering, it will be held this Saturday, April 22, at 1:30 pm PDT. We will stream it live on my Facebook Author Page, but if you want to be part of the conversation, you can get a link to the Zoom Room by emailing Wayne and asking for it.
And the following day, we’ll have another conversation about Wrestling with Trauma on Sunday, April 23, at 10:30 am PDT. Among other things, we will explore what it means to let go of the hurtful things that have happened to us and the process God uses to help us find out how. Sara shared that in a recent podcast if you haven’t heard it. To join us, please email me for the Zoom link. We’ll limit it to the first twelve who request a link.
3 thoughts on “Pretense Is No Refuge”
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In our struggles, the ones who hit us the most in the head are those who say they love Jesus. I have also experienced that and what pain it feels, but how much love from God for our lives. Adriana Lelión
I remember Wayne relating a relevant story in one of his books. My memory is probably skewed, but Wayne tells about a small group of parishioners talking about their deep problems, and Wayne asked “how come so many people I know now have so many problems they didn’t have before”?
Somebody took Wayne aside and informed him that “before” he was not a safe person to disclose to, but now that he has been through the wringer and down into the deep himself , people feel much safer disclosing in his presence.