“Celebrate Recovery” Isn’t God’s Way

Letter written (8/3/09) to a friend who left Celebrate Recovery, but was demeaningly coerced back:

I think you go to CR tonight, right? Just be careful. Since you’ve chosen to continue, just be aware of what isn’t correct. I do think that to not even be able to hand someone a kleenex while they are “talking, confessing, etc.” is just another sign of cultic ways. It’s called CONTROL –and CONFORM –and “won’t you please be a duplicate of us?” and “Please don’t resist the exact way we tell you is best to act.” To illegitimately gain control of people in even the smallest ways never fails to lead to the pursuit of controlling them in bigger ways. (I say “illegitimate” because of course there are God-sanctioned controls –such as loving, mature parent/child, teacher/student, etc.)

Do you see how a little thing like trying to control empathetic feelings can be a precursor to condition someone to not be able to respond in the way their unique personality would have them respond? To respond by handing someone a kleenex is to show empathy. Yet they want to shut down one’s God-given natural responses of empathy. Same about not being able to say a word. Shutting down natural empathy again. It’s called numbing one’s feelings, one’s senses. Isn’t everyone so numb already with all the violence they see on the news and in movies? “Now let’s just numb people to the pain their friends feel. Oh, yes, we are to listen –that is definitely ‘politically correct’ right now. But don’t get too affected by it. Cry (even wail and scream) over your own hurts, but NOT other’s hurts. And definitely not over God’s name and Word being put to shame either! What are you, some kind of emotional nut?” Well, this world’s philosophy is not Christ’s.

Also, on top of all this, to confess to a group, rather than just to confide in one or two TRUSTED (proven to be trusted) friends or mature counselors, is a recipe for potential chaos. What is the group going to do if someone “leaks” information about someone else? There are no guarantees that someone won’t. And there’s no way to enforce this “Don’t tell anything about another…”

This stuff doesn’t work for long. People get hurt. I’ve listened to some who have just had their lives (or hearts) devastated by this control and personal knowledge stuff. Groups are NOT to be trusted. God’s Word does make that clear. And even with close friends –we are to be wise and careful. Micah 7:5 says, “Do not trust a neighbor; Put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words.” And Isa. 2:22 says, “Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?” And Jer. 9:4-6 says, “Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge Me.” And 8:9, “Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?”

Isa. 28:7-16 says, “Priests and prophets… stumble when rendering decisions… ‘Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there.’ …God… said, ‘This is the resting place [Jesus only], let the weary rest’; and, ‘This is the place of repose’ –but they would not listen… so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured… for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood / false gods our hiding place.’ So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts [in Him –Jesus] will never be dismayed… [When I, Christ, come to judge] hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie…”

“Christ Jesus Himself is the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20 / Acts 4:11 / Luke 20:17 / 1 Peter 2:4-9) and it is He “who calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9) and “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness” (Col. 1:13) and “sets us completely free from sin!” (see John 8:32-36 / Rom. 6:7,18) For “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8) for “He appeared so that he might take away our sins.” (v. 5) Take sin away. Not just save us from its penalty! Why won’t people believe this? Those who cannot accept this truth –are UNbelievers. They do NOT have faith –even if they say they do. Their faith is that of the demons who see and believe, but do not believe unto abiding IN Him, obeying Him. They are those whom 2 Tim. 3:5 refers, “–having a form of godliness but denying its power.” “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (1 Cor. 4:20) Power to walk as the NEW self we’ve been given! (2 Cor. 5:17)

“You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Col. 3:9,10) How is it “being renewed”? By abiding in the “knowledge of Him… [and] His great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3,4), by abiding in Him and His Words (John 15:1-7), and by keeping His “Word planted in you, which can save you.” (James 1:21) Soaking in His Words, not other people’s words (unless they are CORRECTLY, by the Spirit of God, giving you His Words), is the way we walk in power –under NO laws or rules but of those taught us by His Spirit. (Gal. 5:16,18 & 1 John 2:26,27) We “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14) by “not thinking about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (same verse), and we do that by “taking every thought captive to His obedience” (2 Cor. 10:5) in the powerful name of Jesus by which ALL powers must bow! (Phil. 2:10)

So let us rest in Jesus, for He is our Rest (Heb. 4:8-11) and our Comforter and our Counselor. (John 14:26) All other counsel must submit to His, and if it truly does this –daily and constantly– THEN, and only then, does it blossom lasting fruit and eternal benefit for all.

Love, blessings, and prayers,


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