Get Real, Finding Honesty in Church

Contributor: Carla Mack, guest writer for Addiction Hope

Walking in the front door of the church, hearing people visit about their week sounds something like this:

“How are you today?” “I’m good!”
“How’s your family?” “They’re great, how is yours?”
“They are good too, same old thing!”

For someone in recovery this small talk and cordial banter can be enough to lead you to walk back out the entry way door. Coming in from the world of addiction recovery where you are taught to share and discuss honest feelings and struggles; church can feel like a pack of liars.

It can be hard to stay. There may be feelings of isolation, misunderstanding, and a lack of connection. This can happen in the church you grew up in, or the church you are visiting with a friend. All churches can suffer from a lack of connection and realness.

Changing the Scenario

Let’s change the scenario, what might “Getting Real” look like in the church entry way?

“How are you today?” “I’m okay, it’s been a hard week, but I’m grateful to be here.”
“How’s your family?” “They’re doing better, some days are more difficult than others, but we are continuing to look up. How is yours?”
“We are struggling; we could really use your prayers.”

Honest Responses

hiking-358555_640Many times, one honest response opens the door for the other person to be honest and vulnerable as well. Remember that each person has some sort of struggle in their life. Take a look at the statistics:

  • “More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems, according to a 2012 study.”

  • According to the book, The Call to Biblical Manhood -Man in the Mirror, “5 out of every 10 men in the church are struggling with some issue concerning pornography”.

  • In 2012, an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older—or 9.2 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication (such as a pain reliever, stimulant, or tranquilizer) in the past month.

Reading these statistics, it’s easy to remove the rose colored glasses and look at a crowd of people through fresh and realistic eyes. Everyone drives up to the church with their own car load of struggles, each may look a little different but each is burdened with something.

Looking Deeper and Finding Support

Does this mean we should all walk in the entry way door and vomit out the weeks’ worth of trials right there? No. It does mean we can look deeper, beyond the pleasantries with a heart of compassion for people and their daily struggles.

We can greet each other with a real and sensitive answer when asked about how we are doing, and we can feel free to choose a few trusted people to share our struggles with, ask for prayer and provide mutual support. Let’s get real!

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has been your experience with attending church while in recovery? What steps can you take to foster realness and honesty in your church community?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 3st, 2015
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