Alcoholics Anonymous and Feral Hogs

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Many in our Undiscovered Country are recovering. Most are recovering alcoholics. Many are recovering drug addicts. All of us are recovering sinners.

One member of our spiritual family leads an Alcoholics Anonymous group. We’ll call him Ted. He and his wife have been recovering from their addictions to alcohol for over thirty years.

On several occasions I’ve been invited to special meetings of their group. They’re fascinating. I marvel at their profound humility. Even after years of sobriety, they never refer to themselves as ‘recovered’. They are always recovering. It’s a lifelong process that is as tenuous as one drink. They know the monster is always lurking at the bottom of a bottle, waiting to be released.

This reminds me of an experience I had in rural Texas. A friend used to capture feral hogs for hunters. (Regardless of your views of hunting, feral hogs are something completely different. They’re highly aggressive animals that will attack and kill the people who hunt them.)

When I say feral hogs, don’t think ‘Babe’. Think 500 pounds of vicious fury that would happily rip you open with long tusks that can grow as long as eighteen inches. Feral hogs are terrifying creatures.

My friend took me to see a recently captured hog. As soon as it saw us, it attacked the cage with such violence the ground shook. Given enough time I was sure the animal would’ve smashed the steel cage to pieces.

That’s how I picture sin. Through Christ we have victory over sin, but it isn’t dead. It stays in a cage. If we taunt it, play with it, eventually it will escape and tear us apart. All the healing we experienced in our spiritual recovery would be undone. The monster would be released and we’d be powerless to resist.

The folks in Alcoholics Anonymous recognize their powerlessness over alcohol. It keeps them from becoming arrogant or complacent. Disciples of Jesus Christ need to remember that they remain powerless over sin. Only through Christ do we ever have victory. Our claim is that we are recovering sinners, one day at a time.

That’s humility in the Undiscovered Country.

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