The Big Books of AA and NA have examples as to what happens and causes so many that fail to recover. In recovery meetings, we say they didn't "get it" when someone relapses. Celebrate Recovery offers explanations as to why the failure, being based on a "Christ-centered" recovery from various types of addictions. If you are taking the time to read this post, you may be a victim of relapse, or know of a loved friend or family member that has been.
I'll attempt to get to the point. Everyone has this issue. You may not be a drinker, use drugs, be a gambler or hooked on porn...thank God. But you have flaws, vice, or sins that you deal with.
An example being someone who worries. This individual constantly fears what may happen. Because of worry, the nag at their spouse and children because they don't comply to their repeated advice. They become angry over anything that goes against what they think is right, i.e. the government's stance on various social issues. Or, they may be paralyzed by fears, ending up in deep depression.
This type of individual needs recovery too. The problem is that few people see worry, nagging, or anger as sinful. They feel above the addicts because they don't smoke, or chew, or run with those who do. Hint: they need as much help as any alcoholic...they're hooked.
Jesus taught using parables, or stories. People love to listen to stories. A good orator knows to keep the attention of a crowd, tell a story. One of Jesus' parables was given with what seemed to be no final result or moral. In Mark 4, he tells of the farmer scattering seed for crop.
Some of the seed fell on the wayside and was eaten by birds. Some fell on rocky soil, sprouted, but the sun burned it up. Some fell among the thorns, which choked the seed, killing it. But some of the seed landed in a fertile loam that grew and yielded many times, perhaps making up for all of the failed crop. The end.
Jesus left the story there, and later, told the disciples the parable's meaning. The Word is the seed. The scripture may reveal a message of recovery from any addiction, whether substances or emotions. His words explain, in my estimation, why so many fail in recovery, in business, in their faith, and in life. And why some succeed almost effortlessly.
The birds that ate the seed was the adversary and his imps. His aim is confusion and distraction. He is successful through many means, knowing human weaknesses, desires, and sloth. He capitalizes with fears like shame and loss of friends. He loves to complicate the simplicity of recovery by making "doing right" for whimps, totally uncool.
The seed burned up by the sun is those who accept the Word with joy, but the moment any sort of persecution, or trouble arises, they move on or back to their old life.
The seed choked out by the thorns is those that hear the message, but the cares of life, the deception of fame or wealth and living the life of the glamorous is their desired choice.
The one who hears the message, accepts it, and surrenders to do what it takes to find real life, is where the seed fell into the soil and took a strong yielding root. The Word thrived in these individuals and not only fed them, leading them to a life of joy and freedom, but also yielding so much crop, potentially feeding masses.
The teaching Jesus brought in this open-ended parable gives the religious a lot of ammunition to condemn those hearing but non-conforming. My suggestion to the religious is to unload your weapon. That goes as well for those who judge others in recovery as they hold court on the relapser. Stop and think.
The message Jesus taught is true, the listener has heard, the seed is sown. We do not know where the seed falls in every person. Think and pray for God's best. Expect that wayward Christian to return, the fallen addict, alcoholic, or any addicted to anything to give up and return broken, ready to comply. When they do, show how deeply the seed landed in you...accept, love, and help them.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!