A friend recently was confronted by the leadership at a local Recovery group. It seems that there were complaints from some (or one) of the attendees relating to his use of his phone and IPad during the recovery meetings and share time groups. The accusation was that they believe that this friend is spying on them, taking photos and reporting on them. Perhaps even keeping files on them. The leadership confronted my friend to ask him to not bring his phone or IPad with him to these meetings. Under the premise that this was in some way was an obstruction to the complaining persons Recovery.
My friend was shocked as he had previously been asked to sit in the back as someone had complained claiming that his screen was a distraction to them. He politely moved to the rear so as not to hinder this persons ability to experience the teaching session of the recovery program. Now this was happening. He chose to move away from attending that recovery group rather than defend himself to the leadership of this group.
I really was angry when I heard this because I too have used my phone during these meetings. The Celebrate Recovery Study Bible is included all the lessons as well as the Bible so it’s a great tool. Not to mention using your phone or tablet for note taking. But the bigger issue here is a reflection of something that has been happening in our society in general.
A participant complains and as leaders we all feel like we need to respond in some way that will appease the complainant’s requirements. But at what cost, the other person’s rights to participate in the way they prefer to participate? Does one person’s feelings matter more than another’s? I don’t believe that is what these leaders thought when they asked my friend to no longer use his phone or tablet. But that is exactly what they were reflecting by doing so.
I submit to you the following to prove my point.
Let’s say I struggle with a sexual addiction, porn addiction or any other form of lust. Today’s culture feels it is acceptable for women to wear these very tight form fitting yoga pants as pants, which frankly highlight either someone’s positive body shape or negative body shape. In either case these pants are very form fitting and I personally do not believe they are appropriate to wear to church or other public places, particularly if you are a Christian which should be a reflection of your character. To me it is no different that wearing a very low cut blouse, or other revealing inappropriate clothing.
In this example, when women wear these yoga pants to recovery meetings it is directly impacting those struggling with lust issues so let’s say I complain to the leadership, asking these women to not be permitted to attend the meetings if they choose to wear clothing such as yoga pants. Does leadership respond by telling these women to no longer wear these yoga pants? Or do they suggest that I seek additional help addressing the lust issue, as it will always be my responsibility for my recovery. It is unreasonable to think that everyone I come in contact with would change their ways to accommodate my struggles with lust.
Likewise, is it not the responsibility of those struggling with paranoia, guilt and shame, to work on their issues should they feel others are spying or reporting on them, verse expecting others to adjust their methods to accommodate their struggles?
The new normal seems to be to believe that we as a nation, a business, a recovery group, a Church or any organization for that matter are responsible to provide an environment that is free from offense. Or that we are somehow able to respond to every individual persons desire for their personal needs. More and more often the majority is being asked to alter their life, views, words or beliefs to accommodate the minority. The never ending quest to please people is a quest that simple cannot be fulfilled. We all have different views and perspectives, that will never change. The organization that seeks to accommodate everyone will never have consistency and never please everyone.
The harsh reality is that TMZ is probably not looking for footage of you in your recovery meeting in rural Pennsylvania. While it may feel like someone is spying on you, they probably are not. On the other hand, perhaps they are, but are we entitled to a world where we control others? While we, as Christians are called to Love one another, and not behave in a manner that would hurt someone else knowingly, we all must take responsibility for our own actions. When leadership seeks to do that for an individual, we rob them of the role they must play in overcoming the struggles they face.