Community and Recovery

Ryan Moffat Family PhotoContributor: Ryan Moffat, BS in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. Pastor of Vast Church.

“And it was good”


This is the repeated evaluation by the Living God Himself in Genesis 1 as He is summarizing the inherent beauty and worth of all that He has created. It was literally “ALL GOOD” except for one important detail, or more accurately, one important relationship:

“Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him”

The “Aloneness” of Man

We know that as we read the rest of the story that God creates a relationship (called marriage) to more accurately and fully represent the relational nature of God Himself. The only negative evaluation in all of the creation account is the “aloneness” of man.

In fact right after “the fall” in Genesis 3 they move from perfectly intimate to immediately “hiding” and painfully self-aware of their own nakedness.

The Two Fatal Relational Choices

talk aboutThat’s what sin ALWAYS does…it moves from community (with God and others) to shame, guilt and bondage. So while people surround us we live alone. We may have 1000’s of friends on Facebook and Twitter no one really knows the depths of our pain, our vices, our darkness, our addictions.

Suddenly we are on the path of serious destruction accelerated by the reality of our aloneness. It’s in those moments of aloneness that the shame and guilt overwhelm us and where we make two fatal relational choices:

  1. We pretend we are better than we actually are. (performing and pretending)
  2. In this pretending, we work hard (extremely hard) to portray a false image to those around us.

The downward progression leads to relational and performance fatigue. After awhile life becomes exhausting, people become inconvenient, relationships must be manipulated and all the hiding becomes overwhelming.

Restoring the Dream of PERFECT Relationships

What Jesus wants to do is restore the dream of PERFECT relationships in Genesis 1-2. He wants us to be exposed (known fully) and paradoxically loved fully (despite being known). Jesus is the only one who can do both.

And incredibly the work doesn’t stop there: He gives us the gift of one another to function as a new community to bring the love, acceptance, encouragement originally intended back in Genesis 1-2.

So the Scriptures aren’t just cold, theological doctrines that have no practicality for my real life. Ecclesiastes 4 wonderfully reminds us of the benefit and joy of community:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Frank’s Story

My friend (whom I will call “Frank” to protect his anonymity) knows firsthand the danger of life alone. When I met Frank he was an alcohol-addicted, lying, cheating, broken man. Through a series of conversations what became incredibly clear is that Frank’s issue wasn’t primarily “alcoholism”…. that was just a symptom of a deeper disease.

Frank had been told (and had believed) the lie that vulnerability, humility and asking for help were signs of weakness. He spent 20+ years trying to be good enough, strong enough and awesome enough to shoulder the load solo.

Living in Community

girls gossiping on sofaAs Joshua Harris says, “The lone ranger always ends up a dead ranger”. That’s exactly where Frank’s life was heading. So much so that he even considered suicide. Frank is now living in community (through Church, AA, and Celebrate Recovery) and is experiencing the greatest freedom and friendships he’s ever known.

The GREAT news is that Frank’s story can be replicated 1000 times over if we just choose to admit how broken we truly are.

So often we keep asking God to show up in our brokenness and I think often He keeps responding by giving us friends. Take the risk of vulnerability, enjoy the grace of community and walk in the newness of God’s design….it is good!

About the author:

Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together.

Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR

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Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 27th, 2015
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