I must know and be known for significant relationships to occur. Sexual sin thrives in isolation and secrecy. I cannot heal without dependable and loyal friends in recovery who show up every week to hear my story and share their own. I must confess my sins, but not with everyone. I should be selective in my choice of confidants. Those with whom I bare my soul, share my life, and fully disclose my secrets must be trustworthy.
Addicts are best served by other addicts, especially when trust is established. Brothers in recovery are uniquely equipped to help other brothers in recovery. A man who is actively engaged in wrong sexual behavior may find little help from counselors, well-meaning Christians, pastors, family members, or even close friends. These people may possess a trustworthy character, but without a shared experience of sexual addiction it is difficult for them to offer usable and worthwhile advice. They are simply not competent to do so.
In the world of business, trustworthiness is established with the “Two C’s.” Professionals build trust by virtue of both their character and competence. You would not choose a surgeon of great moral character cutting on you if he never attended medical school. Similarly, you would not select a highly competent financial adviser who was a thief. The men of 423 prove their character by loving and caring for each other, while maintaining strict confidentiality. They demonstrate their competence by the telling and hearing of shared experiences. This is how we provide effective pastoral care to one another in a 423 Men recovery group. We shepherd the sheep of our recovery flock by use of the “Two C’s,” taking our inspiration from King David’s example as the leader of a great nation a thousand years before the birth of Christ:
A man struggling with sexual addiction needs brothers in recovery from whom he can gather strength and for whom he can be strong. True recovery is a ‘give and take’ enterprise. The addict must receive and offer help if he is to create trust and find healing.
One of the best ways to develop trust among the members of a recovery community is to listen more than we talk. No one is allowed to cross-talk, offer advice, or preach at other members of the group. This is a subtle way of introducing shame and judgment. 423 Men offers a safe and grace-filled environment for men to confess their sexual sin with other men in recovery who offer empathy, compassion, mercy, and strength.
Some new members have inquired, “If we can’t give or receive advice and wise counsel in group, then what’s the point of meeting together?” The point is this: there is great release of spiritual power in the hearing and telling of true stories. Full disclosure in the context of people committed to the success of each member of their recovery group yields astonishing results:
- When I hear a man honestly confess his sins, I am endeared to that man.
- When I hear about his failures, I learn from his example how not to be.
- When I hear about his successes, I am encouraged to become successful in my fight for purity.
- When I share my history of sexual sin with non-judgmental brothers, I feel safe.
- When I am loved by men who accept me in spite of my sin, I learn to trust others.
- When I can trust frail men who love Jesus, I can more easily trust Jesus who holds the ultimate power over sin.
- When I trust Jesus, I am renewed in my confidence to gain victory over my sin.
Trust your brothers in recovery. They will help you trust Jesus, according to whom, anything is possible when trust is established.