"It was impressive how well I had concealed certain facts about my life, my character, and my habits. Like the hypocrite in Jesus’ teachings, I had a plank in my eye that needed to be removed. I could see it clearly in times of self-reflection. But as soon as I turned away from the mirror, I forgot what I had seen.
Instead of taking the plank out of my eye, I spent time focusing on my circumstances or on superficial issues that did nothing to fix the problem. While in Resilient Recovery group, I began to address the real issue. The Holy Spirit used scripture to convict me of my sin. Against the backdrop of Christ’s perfect love, my sins were obvious and unmistakable. Unlike Christ, I had a profound unwillingness to accept difficulty; I demanded that life be easy and problem-free. When frustrated by even slight challenges, I reacted sinfully. At different points in my life, I drank heavily, or dropped out of college 4 times, or flew into fits of rage that resulted in damaged property, or sulked around blaming my wife for my troubles, or had panic attacks that resulted in trips to the ER. The common denominator was my belief that I was too great a person to ever have to suffer any difficulty.
What helped me reach this conclusion was time spent in a Scripture-saturated, Christ-centered recovery group. In this group, I followed an ancient pattern of confession and absolution. Each week I delved deeper into two biblical truths: I am wretched sinner [law] and I am forgiven by the grace of God [gospel]. Each truth clarified and complimented the other. Because of the confidence I was given through the gospel, I was able to safely examine the depth of my sins, not worried that I would uncover a problem that would cause God to reject me. And by plumbing the depths of my sin, the gospel became ever more precious to me. I learned that he who is forgiven much, loves much.
Through God's grace, the result of this weekly pattern of law and gospel is that I have achieved years of sobriety and stability.