This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.1 Timothy 1:15 (NLT)
“Hi, my name is ________ and I’m an alcoholic.” If you’ve ever been to a recovery group, or even seen a TV show or movie that has a scene from a recovery group (Alcoholics Anonymous or otherwise), you’ve probably heard a similar expression shared – except the word alcoholic would be interchanged with whatever addiction they were battling. The idea is to admit, out loud, to others, that you are struggling with something.
The next part of the recovery session usually involves declaring how you’re progressing on your journey to healing. The statement may go something like this, “I’ve been five weeks sober.” In other words, they’ve made it five weeks without taking a sip of any alcohol. Generally, there is applause when someone states how far they’ve made it in their recovery.
Then, there are the times when someone has to admit to the group that they slipped up during the week. The statement might be “I really struggled this week and drank two beers.” There is no applause, but something else instead: Words of affirmation. The group surrounds the person with love and encourages them to keep on working at it. There is no condemnation.
How different could the church be if we all adopted this model? If the church was a place for sinners to go in order to find healing and support. Indeed, the Apostle Paul captured this sentiment when he wrote, “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.”
If we, as Christians, are followers of Jesus, then we must admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior. And, guess what? We’re not alone. There are literally billions of people on this planet who are in the same situation. They are stuck in one sin or another.
It is not a weakness to admit we struggle with sin. Instead, it is a declaration that we need Jesus. Instead of keeping everything locked up, we need to support one another, encourage each other, and keep pointing others to Jesus, our Savior, our Sin Savior. Maybe our own personal statement can go something like, “Hi, my name is Chad, and I’m a sinner. It’s been 10 years since I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and found salvation.”