I’m not one who’s got it all in place
Tellin’ you what you should do, no,
I’m just one old hungry beggar
Showin’ you where I found food.
from the song, “Beggar” by John Fischer
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
This last step indicates a major shift in the way in which we let other people know about Jesus.
For as long as I can remember, Christians have had this obligation to lead people to Christ. We call it witnessing. Just hearing that term strikes fear into my bones. Why? Because I’ve had so many bad experiences doing this.
Besides reading the Bible, praying and going to church, witnessing is one of the main things we are supposed to do in the world as believers. Witnessing was telling people about Jesus with the goal of leading them to accept Christ into their hearts as their own personal savior. Usually this involved going up to people cold turkey and figuring out how to get them in a discussion about religion leading up to whether or not they had been born again.
There is something wrong about the whole posture of this. It was usually a set up. It was unnatural. It involved total strangers. It was usually a hand down. We could tell them how they, too, could get it together like us.
Then along came this idea of one beggar leading another beggar to the food, and everything changed. Now instead of telling, we’re showing. We are talking about friends, not strangers — fellow travelers on the road of life. There is no hierarchy. We are sinners. We too are beggars. In the case of twelve steps, we are talking about other alcoholics. People like us. There’s no pretense. This is a hand across, not a hand down. We are pointing people to Christ in the context of needing to get better ourselves.
It’s a whole different paradigm. This is not witnessing — some sort of spiritual raid — this is coming alongside and walking along with someone. The fact that we, too, are hurting, and in need of the very message we bring, is what makes this different. It works with the twelve steps because it’s alcoholic to alcoholic; it works with all of us as Christians because it’s sinner to sinner. Thanks be to God for His amazing grace.