Last week at Celebrate Recovery, one of the guys said something which was interesting, alarming and funny, all at the one time, but I think “alarming” is the right description.

For the sake of confidentiality, I shall call him Dave, but his real name is Steve. No it’s not, that was a joke – his real name is Charlie. No it’s not!

We are getting to the stage in the programme where we start making a moral inventory. We look at the things in our lives that have had a major impact on us: things that we have done, things that have been done to us. They are the stuff that have built our hurts, hang-ups and habits. As we deal with them one at a time, we reduce the influence they have or have had in our lives. As we reduce their influence, we reduce their impact on us and their control over us.

Dave, or whoever he is, was saying that he went through the same process in Alcoholics Anonymous some years ago. About halfway through he suddenly realised what was happening and panicked. As he dealt with each item, he was in fact dealing with each of the causes of his addiction to alcohol. As he scored each one of the list, he realised that he was actually running out of reasons, or maybe excuses, to drink. He really didn’t like the thought of that, and he had a big problem with the process as a result.

The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. (Mark 5:14-17, NLT)

Jesus had just driven a legion of demons out of a man, and the crowd didn’t like it. They don’t seem to have been interested in the new freedom that the man had been given; they just didn’t like the thought of such dramatic change, and they asked Jesus to go away. It’s a bit like Wotsisname at Celebrate Recovery – he wanted to keep what he knew. He didn’t want to step into the unknown. The crowd were the same.

Are we the same? Are we so afraid of the unknown that we are not willing to step into it, even though we might know that it’s infinitely better?

I’m glad to say that my dear friend at Celebrate Recovery, who used to be like that, is not the same anymore. He is not telling Jesus to go away. He is moving into his amazing new future, and he knows that Jesus is there with him on the journey.