AIM is perfect!
How many of you laughed at the title? Of course, when we assert it in such a manner the absurdity seems obvious. Yet as I hear some of us share our experiences I’m saddened at the emphasis often given to our negative experiences. I am struck with the thought that to remedy everything that we complain about would require the program to be perfect. All pain ultimately comes from the disappointment of expectations. So when we are experiencing pain, we must ask ourselves what our expectations were. Though this won’t make all pain go away, it can clarify things and help us in our healing. As a point of comparison, consider the following:
Let’s imagine you were an embedded reporter from the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry and somehow remained objective and only reported what you saw. Now imagine you are near the end of Jesus’ ministry and are a witness to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. There you observe as one of Jesus’ inner circle betrays him and the other 11 desert him. Later on one will commit suicide, one will deny even knowing him and only one ends up being present at the crucifixion. After his resurrection, which should be the most compelling evidence of all time, his followers are all caught off guard that Jesus is rumored to be alive and one aggressively challenges the idea, demanding proof. Acts 1 clearly demonstrates they are completely unaware of the goal of His Kingdom and then, quite astoundingly, on the way to witness the ascension it says that some doubted.
So, after over 2 years of intensive training with the very Son of God and witnessing proof after proof that should have sealed the deal and caused them to be exceptionally strong in their faith, you end up with all of them experiencing serious doubt and faith weaknesses, struggling with cowardice, ignorant of the overall goal of the “program” and signs of serious sin issues: lying, arrogance, selfishness, hopelessness and suicide. From the outside looking in, do you want to send your kid to be part of Jesus’ program?
Blame is a powerful tool that the Devil uses to keep us from experiencing healing and growth in Christ. As long as I focus on someone else’s weaknesses, I lose access to God’s strength. This leads to feeling powerless and eventually bitter. In order for me to heal I must face these facts: AIM is a group of flawed Christians, trying to provide a growth opportunity for other flawed Christians so that they can go work alongside other flawed Christians. And, as we learn quickly, flawed Christians tend to have flaws in their Christianity. This means people get hurt. This hurt always happens, whether you are in AIM or not, but since AIM is a “professional Christian organization” we somehow expect the normal things that happen in everyone’s life not to happen there.
Since the AIM staff is not perfect, as Jesus was, we should expect them to have a poorer track record than Jesus did. It is truly not within any program’s ability to provide a guarantee that I will remain faithful to God and have a thriving relationship with Him. God gave each person free will. Jesus trained 12 men for over 2 years and all of them initially failed and one failed miserably. Was Jesus’ training flawed? Because of who Jesus is, we would say no. Because we know the rest of the Apostles’ story, we would say no. We, though, are still writing our stories. How amazing it will be to read them when they include stepping away from the chains of negative experiences and stepping into the freedom of God’s strength and power to bring good from all situations.
- Jason Thornton