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It is written:
Hosea 6:6-For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Since moving to Hazard Kentucky in 2005, I have been blessed to work with many precious souls who struggle with drug addiction. During that time, I have seen some of them do amazingly well-day by day-with the help of the Lord. Others I have seen do well for a time, relapse, and come back-by the grace of God. Still others I have seen lose their battle to addiction (to whom I entrust to the living God Who Will shelter their soul-may they all find mercy from the Lord on that Day).
As part of our church jail ministry (in which we work with many addicts), I often preview movies to watch before showing them in the local detention center. The last couple of days, I have watched a heart-pounding movie that was released in 2019 called “Ben’s Back.” I want to share some thoughts with you about this movie.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead.
The movie focuses especially on a young man named Ben, who has been in a drug treatment center for 77 days. Ben comes home for Christmas to be with his family. Honestly, I am so overwhelmed by the movie right now that I am not sure exactly how to proceed with this article (please bear with me). This movie so powerfully captures in stunning and traumatic fashion the life of not just an addict, but their family and those that they know. Maybe it will help if I go through some of the different characters.
We start with the family of Ben, who have some very mixed reactions.
Holly is overjoyed to see her son, and holds out hope that he is doing well and things will be different. However, she takes precautions by going through the house and removes any drugs or prescription containers that can be a source of temptation for Ben. She is optimistic, but she is also wise to take precautions, like the Word of God teaches us.
Job 31:1-I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?
Psalm 101:3-I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.
Matthew2 5:29-30-If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
We soon see, however, that having her son back is going to cause some issues. Holly soon finds herself in some heated confrontations with her husband, Neal, over Ben’s premature return. However upset we may be with Neal at the beginning, Holly tries to maintain her relationship with her husband. Even when she is angry with him, she tries to remain loving in her tone. I cannot imagine how hard it would be for her, trying to balance her love for her eldest son with the welfare and safety of her other children and husband.
We find out that she ends up lying to Neal at some points:
She takes Ben to a a meeting, where a young lady asks Ben to get high with her before she goes to rehab. Ben doesn’t recognize her, and she tells him, “You used to be my dealer.” Later at a department store, Holly searches Ben’s pockets before he tries on clothes. He says to her before he closes the door, “You forgot to search my shoes.” After a few moments thought, she has a meltdown and demands a key to open the door to the changing room. There he hands her a dimebag that he says the lady at the meeting gave to him. Holly decides not to tell Neal about it.
Later, after their house is broken into and the dog Ponce is stolen, Holly and Ben go in search for the fur baby. They get separated (I don’t want to say too much), but when she speaks with Neal and with her daughter Ivy, she tells them that she and Ben are still together. One small lie leads to another larger lie.
Isn’t that the way it often goes?
According to one study which was conducted by a professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London:
“People who tell small, self-serving lies are likely to progress to bigger falsehoods and over time, the brain appears to adapt to the dishonesty.” (New York Times, October 24, 2016).
The Bible exhorts us to be honest.
Colossians 3:8-Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
There are many Scriptures which say the same thing: yet don’t we also remember that there are times it seems that deceptions are sometimes justifiable?
Hebrews 11:31-By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
James 2:25-Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
It is easy to say, “The Bible always condemns lying!” Yet this hardly seems consistent with the Bible text. This movie brings out some of these disturbing “gray” areas of morality that many addicts and their families must deal with often.
Later, when Ben says that Neal (his step-father) is sort of an insensitive person, Holly defends Neal to her son. I love how the movie shows Holly trying to be such a loving wife. No, she isn’t perfect, but her husband knows that he can trust in her. Furthermore, Holly does everything in her power to save her son and the rest of her family. She shows the amazing love of a mother.
Neal from the beginning shows himself to be a considerate and concerned father. He shows his love for Ben. Indeed, even though he is not his biological son, Neal shows amazing compassion and kindness for Ben. At their first encounter, he comes across as kind but firm. He expresses his worry that Ben is back. His appears to be a kind of love that is willing to be firm as well as kind. He tries to express “tough love,” as it is often called. This reminds me of a king in the Bible who did not show this “tough love” for his child, and some of the difficult things which resulted from that decision.
1 Kings 1:6- (And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?” He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.)
1 Kings 1:6 (NLT)-Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome.
Many in our world doubt the value of discipline for children, which is unfortunate since the Bible clearly teaches that children need discipline and instruction (Proverbs 22:15). Studies have certainly confirmed the Bible’s teaching regarding this matter:
“Marjorie Gunnoe, a developmental psychologist at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who is not a spanking advocate but is an openminded researcher, questioned 2,600 people about being smacked. One-quarter of them had never been physically disciplined. The participants’ answers were compared with such behaviors as academic success, optimism about the future, antisocial behavior, violence, and bouts of depression. According to the research, children spanked up to the age of 6 were likely as teenagers to perform better at school and were more likely to carry out volunteer work and to want to go to college than their peers who had never been physically disciplined. “The claims made for not spanking children fail to hold up. They are not consistent with the data,” said Gunnoe. “I think of spanking as a dangerous tool, but there are times when there is a job big enough for a dangerous tool. You just don’t use it for all your jobs.” Child psychologist Elizabeth Owens, scientist at the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a study. She concluded, “If you look at the causally relevant evidence, it’s not scientifically defensible to say that spanking is always a horrible thing. I don’t think mild, occasional spankings in an otherwise supportive, loving family will do any long-term harm.” Akron Law Review published a study that examined criminal records and found that children raised where a legal ban on parental corporal punishment is in effect are much more likely to be involved in crime. Psychologist Aric Sigman states, “The idea that smacking and violence are on a continuum is a bizarre and fetished view of what punishment is for most parents. If it’s done judiciously by a parent who is normally affectionate and sensitive to their child, our society should not be up in arms about that. Parents should be taught to distinguish this from a punch in the face.” Jason Fuller says that Sweden is “… an ideal laboratory to study spanking bans,” for a generation ago it became the first nation to impose a complete ban on physical discipline. According to Fuller, police reports indicate that since the spanking ban, child-abuse rates in Sweden have exploded over 500 percent. Even just one year after the ban took effect, and after a massive government-run public education campaign, Fuller found that “not only were Swedish parents resorting to pushing, grabbing, and shoving more than U.S. parents, but they were also beating their children twice as often.” After a decade of the ban, “rates of physical child abuse in Sweden had risen to three times the U.S. rate,” and “from 1979 to 1994, Swedish children under seven endured an almost six-fold increase in physical abuse,” Fuller’s analysis revealed. More than half of Swedish schoolchildren are undergoing some sort of therapy in an effort to solve learning problems. Kenneth Dodge, a professor at Duke University, conducted a long-term study of corporal punishment’s effect on 453 kids, both black and white, tracking them from kindergarten through eleventh grade. Now that is a scientific study. When Dodge’s team presented its findings at a conference, the data did not make people happy. They found that the more a child was spanked, the less aggressive the child was over time. The spanked black kid was overall less likely to be in trouble. Scholars publicly castigated Dodge’s team, but Dodge—who remains adamantly against the use of physical discipline—was so horrified by such questions that he enlisted a team of fourteen scholars to study the use of corporal punishment around the world. The researchers failed to find evidence that spanking had negative effects. Dr. Diana Baumrind of the University of California, Berkeley, aided by teams of professional researchers, conducted what many consider to be the most extensive and methodologically thorough child development study ever done. They examined 164 families for over a decade, tracking their children from age four to fourteen. Baumrind found that “spanking can be helpful in certain contexts” and discovered “no evidence for unique detrimental effects of normative physical punishment.” The study also revealed that children who were never spanked tended to have behavioral problems, and were not more competent than their peers as other professionals had suggested. If we were to adopt the methods of the professionals, reasoning backward from a select group, we could reference “studies” proving our point. For example, USA Today interviewed 29 CEOs of very successful businesses regarding the cause of their success, and in the process discovered that all 29 were spanked as children. Following their methodology we could conclude that spanking will lead to becoming a very successful CEO. Of course that was not a scientific study, and the correlation proves nothing except that spanking does not prevent one from becoming a successful CEO. So actual scientific studies lend weight to what the Bible says: “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29: 15). All presidents of the United States, including Obama, were spanked as children, as were nearly all senators, congressmen, and military commanders. In a 2011 USA Weekend interview, First Lady Michelle Obama admitted to spanking her daughter Malia once or twice when she was little. Laura Bush told Dr. Phil she did the same to her twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, when they were young. In a three-way discussion on Fox News, host Arthur Aidala says he was “spanked with a belt” and thinks it was a “good idea.” Gretchen Carlson said she “was spanked, but things have changed.” Aidala and Jonna Spilbor, both prosecutors and defense attorneys, said they spank their children as well. NEW YORK “STUDY” On a flight to New York City to appear on TV, the woman I sat next to on the plane said she had spanked her children. The taxi driver said he had “walloped” the kids when it was needed, and they were all in college now or successful in business. The director of the show said she was spanked and spanked her kids as needed. The make-up ladies and the back-stage hands were all sympathetic with my position. Only the host of the show and his selected audience thought “all studies confirm that hitting children will cause them to be violent. …” He had no children, thank God. His husband could not conceive, for obvious reasons. And his star witness, a child psychologist, said that parents “cannot be trusted to exercise corporal punishment” because they are so angry and out of control, indicating that was the reason she could not trust herself to spank. TO BE FAIR If you draw a line through history at the point where spanking was abandoned, you will find that it coincides with significant increases in juvenile misbehavior, suicides, low self-esteem, self-loathing, and a general degeneration of society. You will also discover that where parents give up corporal chastisement, they resort to emotionally abusive methods such as screaming, insulting, and humiliating in order to control aberrant behavior. We are not suggesting that the cessation of spanking is primarily responsible for the increase in juvenile misbehavior and crime. There are many factors, and this is not the place to discuss them. But just as we cannot say that lack of spanking causes delinquency, the progressive cannot say based on the “statistics” that spanking causes delinquency. However, in answer to the progressive claim that spanking is responsible for youth misbehavior, if the statistics do speak in regard to delinquency, they would say that the cessation of spanking has increased misbehavior in youth, not diminished it as they suggested would occur with its elimination.” (Michael Pearl & Debbie Pearl, To Train Up a Child: Child Training for the 21st Century-Revised and Expanded: New Material Added, 81-84 (Kindle Edition); NGJ Ministries)
Despite his well-justified and understandable concerns for Ben and his family’s safety, Neal allows Ben to stay. We also find out later that Neal has made considerable sacrifices in order to help fund Ben’s treatment. Even though he has bouts of anger and misgiving, you can see that Neal is trying to love his family. It reminds me of what the inspired writer penned:
Proverbs 19:22-What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar.
Years ago, a man named Grady Poulard wrote:
“The Measure Of A Man The measure of a man is not determined by his show of outward strength, or the volume of his voice, or the thunder of his actions, or of his intellect or academic abilities. It is seen rather in terms of the love that he has for his family and for everyone; the strength of his commitments; the genuineness of his friendships; the sincerity of his purpose; the quiet courage of his convictions; the fun, laughter, joy and happiness he gives to his family and to others; his love of life, his patience and his honesty, and his contentment with what he has.” (Source Unknown)
Mr. Richland (I think that was his name) was a teacher of Ben’s whose house he and Holly stopped at. You find out from the exchange between Ben and Holly after they left that Mr. Richland’s mother had died of cancer, and as a result had his house full of oxycodone medications. Ben explains to his mother, “We had an arrangement.”
The implication was clear.
Over the years, I have worked with several addicts (male and female) who were held in drug-induced bondage by other human beings, who gave money and drugs for sexual favors. Some of the women that I have worked with over the years had been intentionally hooked by would-be pimps to drugs to sell sexual services to men for drug money.
I am reminded of the ways that the Bible reminds us of people who use drugs in order to exploit others.
Habakkuk 2:15-Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, Pressing him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk, That you may look on his nakedness!
The Pharmacist. At one point, Holly goes to get a fresh dose of Narcan from a pharmacist as she searches for Ben. The pharmacist informs her that their pharmacy does not carry Narcan since they do not want to encourage irresponsible living and behavior.
When I heard this, my blood boiled. I have lost friends and loved ones who would likely still be alive today if Narcan had been available and administered.
Most people that I know are aware that there is a psychological and spiritual hold that drugs can hold on a person’s mind and spirit; but there is also a physical hold that drugs can hold over a person’s body. As such, sometimes medical treatment is sometimes necessary. (Do we not see this with Ben’s friend, Spencer?! He frankly tells Holly that he needs drugs not to get high, but so that he will not get sick!)
“Sold under the brand name Narcan or Evzio, naloxone is a fast-acting drug that, when administered during an overdose, blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to three minutes of administration. Approved by the FDA in 1971, naloxone has been used safely and effectively for over 4 decades in ambulances and emergency rooms across America. In America and around the world, naloxone distribution programs are currently training potential overdose witnesses to correctly recognize an overdose and administer the drug, greatly reducing the risk of accidental death. The CDC has recognized co-prescribed naloxone in their 2016 guidelines as an effort to reduce death in high risk pain populations that include advanced age, chronic disease and doses that exceed 50 morphine milli-equivalents (MME) and/ or co-medication with benzodiazepines…. “Why do you need naloxone? Why does America need naloxone? 52,404 people died of drug overdose in 2015 and we are tracking for 70,000. Naloxone could have saved 63% of them It’s all about the death curve. You need American Narcan because you cannot change enough laws or educate enough doctors to change the death curve. The death curve is also very likely worse than what is reported. You need American Narcan because lawmakers still just don’t get it. You need American Narcan because your doctor doesn’t get it. Heroin is below the radar of state appointed bureaucrats and law makers. Despite comprising a smaller user population, there were more treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities for heroin than for any other drug. Abstinence based therapy and Community Health Centers still have not wrapped their head around the death curve. I walk amoung people weekly that debate whether or not they should support community naloxone. It’s all about the death curve. Every publically funded facility for heroin treatment or opioid use disorder should be a hub for the distribution or prescribing of naloxone.” (William Morrone, American Narcan: Naloxone & Heroin-Fentanyl associated mortality (American Narcotics Book 2), 9-11 (Kindle Edition); Morrone & Morrone)
Yet what about the claim that Narcan encourages irresponsible living?
Let me put this in terms that are as clear that I as a Christian and a Gospel preacher can make it: if the person dies from drug overdose, then that person will not have opportunity to receive spiritual counseling and treatment! Christian ministry is not just about providing good sermons and Bible reading: it is about trying to minister to the entire person (body, soul, and spirit).
Doesn’t Jesus teach us this?
When He came into the world, He did not just come preaching sermons, did He?
Mark 5:13-15-And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. 14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
John 6:5-Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”
Please don’t forget that Jesus fed even those who were just following Him for the food!
John 6:26-Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
Acts 10:38-how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Christian, there is no shame in a person needing medical treatment for a medical problem! Indeed, this is one reason why God has allowed nature and medicines to begin with: for the healing of the body and mind from physical problems. Remember the example of Hezekiah:
Isaiah 38:21-Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it as a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover.”
Did you notice that?
God instructed Isaiah to make medicine to heal the king.
The Scriptures are full of references to medicines of various kinds.
“In the figurative account of the evil case of Judah and Israel because of their backsliding (Jer 30:13), the prophet says they have had no rephu’ah, or “healing medicines.” Later on (Jer 46:11), when pronouncing the futility of the contest of Neco against Nebuchadrezzar, Jeremiah compares Egypt to an incurably sick woman going up to Gilead to take balm as a medicine, without any benefit. In Ezekiel’s vision of the trees of life, the leaves are said (the King James Version) to be for medicine, the Revised Version (British and American) reads “healing,” thereby assimilating the language to that in Re 22:2, “leaves of the tree …. for the healing of the nations” (compare Eze 47:12). Very few specific remedies are mentioned in the Bible. “Balm of Gilead” is said to be an anodyne (Jer 8:22; compare Jer 51:8). The love-fruits, “mandrakes” (Ge 30:14) and “caperberry” (Ec 12:5 margin), myrrh, anise, rue, cummin, the “oil and wine” of the Good Samaritan, soap and sodic carbonate (“natron,” called by mistake “nitre”) as cleansers, and Hezekiah’s “fig poultice” nearly exhaust the catalogue. In the Apocrypha we have the heart, liver and gall of Tobit’s fish (Tobit 6:7). In the Egyptian pharmacopoeia are the names of many plants which cannot be identified, but most of the remedies used by them were dietetic, such as honey, milk, meal, oil, vinegar, wine. The Babylonian medicines, as far as they can be identified, are similar. In the Mishna we have references to wormwood, poppy, hemlock, aconite and other drugs. The apothecary mentioned in the King James Version (Ex 30:25, etc.) was a maker of perfumes, not of medicines. Among the fellahin many common plants are used as folk-remedies, but they put most confidence in amulets or charms, which are worn by most Palestinian peasants to ward off or to heal diseases.” (Alexander Macalister, “Medicine,” in James Orr, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 117347-117366 (Kindle Edition); Osnova)
“Medical care in biblical times frequently employed the use of different kinds of salves and ointments. Olive oil was used widely, either alone or as an ingredient in ointments. The use of oil for the treatment of wounds is mentioned in Isa. 1: 6 and Luke 10: 34. Oil also became a symbol of medicine, and its use was coupled with prayer for the ill (Mark 6: 13; James 5: 14). Herbs and various products obtained from many different plants were among the most popular of ancient medicines. These were applied to the body as a poultice, or, in many cases, taken by mouth. Frankincense and myrrh—gum resins obtained from trees—were commonly used to treat a variety of diseases, although their main use was in perfumes and incense. Wine was commonly thought to have medicinal value. One of its uses was to alleviate pain and discomfort. Wine, mixed with gall and myrrh, was offered to Jesus prior to His crucifixion, but He refused to drink it (Matt. 27: 34; Mark 15: 23). Wine also was used to sooth stomach and intestinal disorders (1 Tim. 5: 23) and to treat a variety of other physical problems. Beer was also widely used as an ingredient in several medicines, especially by the Babylonians….When Leah suffered a temporary period of sterility, she sent her son, Reuben, to the field to obtain mandrakes. Her barren sister, Rachel, also asked for some of the mandrakes (Gen. 30: 9-24). The root of the mandrake was widely used in the ancient world to promote conception, although there is no reason to believe it was truly effective. It was also used as a narcotic.” (Kenneth Eakins, “Diseases,” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary,14729-14755 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Holman Reference)
The writer of Proverbs teaches us about the importance of alcohol as a remedy for those who are suffering (physically and mentally):
Proverbs 31:6-8-6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more. 8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
When Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, He instructed us about the important medicinal use of drugs:
Luke 10:34-So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
The Samaritan used oils and wines to bring healing to the man who had been injured.
When Paul wrote to Timothy, he instructed him about the importance of using medicine:
1 Timothy 5:23-No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.
I believe these words from the apocryphal book Wisdom Of Sirach are helpful here:
Sirach 38:1-2, 4-8, 12-15-““Honor the physician with the honor due him, according to your need of him, for the Lord created him; for healing comes from the Most High, and he will receive a gift from the king… The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible man will not despise them. Was not water made sweet with a tree in order that his power might be known? And he gave skill to men that he might be glorified in his marvelous works. By them he heals and takes away pain; the pharmacist makes of them a compound. His works will never be finished; and from him health is upon the face of the earth… And give the physician his place, for the Lord created him; let him not leave you, for there is need of him. There is a time when success lies in the hands of physicians, for they too will pray to the Lord that he should grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life. He who sins before his Maker, may he fall into the care of a physician.”
Let’s not ostracize those who are suffering by denying them needed medical treatment.
Finally, Ben stands out to me in so many ways. Here is a young man who was hooked on painkillers after an injury by a doctor. Whether or not the doctor knew the addictive nature of those drugs is unclear from the movie: however, there is no doubt that some (not ALL) doctors are to blame for much of the drug epidemic in our country. However, it should also be pointed out that some doctors have been duped by “big pharma” in America.
One reporter, Beth Macy, has detailed much of this in her astonishing book, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, And The Drug Company That Addicted America. Consider one example:
“The next county over, in tiny Kermit, West Virginia, Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Eric Eyre had just won a Pulitzer for pointing out that Big Pharma shipped nearly nine million hydrocodone pills to a single pharmacy in a town of just 392 people, giving Mingo County the fourth-highest prescription opioid death rate of any county in America. Metcalf had seen it coming as early as 1997. Out of the country at the time, he was serving in the Air Force and hated the thought of missing his ten-year high school reunion, though the turnout was dismal. The chief organizer, a drug user, had absconded with the class-reunion funds. “When everybody showed up, she wasn’t there, and neither was the party,” he said.” (Beth Macy, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, 169 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY; Little, Brown and Company Hachette Book Group)
Ben is a young man filled with regret, guilt, shame, anxiety, and sorrow. He tries very hard to make amends to his family and loved ones, and yet he feels that all he does is make things worse. It takes everything that he has to withstand the temptation to relapse, and yet relapse eventually occurs.
How often have Christians painted the picture to the world that when we are redeemed, we never again “relapse” into sin? As a child of God, I know that I stumble and sin (1 John 1:8). I am not yet what I ought to be (Philippians 3:13-16). I need to repent and confess my sins as a baptized believer to the Lord for the continual cleansing of sin (1 John 1:7-9). Jesus, my Advocate (1 John 2:1-2) is always at the throne of God to plead my case and provide mercy and grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
To all my non-Christian friends: the church is not a showcase of perfect people. It is a hospital for sinners. We do not wallow in sin; rather, we encourage each other and help each other grow (Ephesians 4:11-16).
To me, the most powerful scene of the movie was where Ben was in church on Christmas Eve listening to the song, “O Holy Night.” He began to openly weep. Maybe he was remembering Maggie, the young lady that he had helped get hooked on drugs and who had died (whose mother was sitting behind them). Maybe he was remembering the houses that he had robbed. Perhaps he was recalling the violence he had lived and that he had brought into the home of his family.
Maybe he was just touched by the fact that in our night of dark despair, the Lord reaches down to us.
My mind went to a friend of mine who passed away some years ago. He had struggled with drug abuse, but that was NOT his identity. His identity was in Christ Jesus. During his times of spiritual wandering, we would often gather together and talk. I remember one night when we gathered together at church with two of our other close friends. We sang hymns to the living God, and then we took turns praying together.
When it came time for him to pray, his prayer was simple:
“Lord, I need You to be as real in my life now as when we first met.”
God was working in his life.
Even though my friend eventually lost his fight to addiction, he has won the victory and I know the Lord is still working with him.
To all of my friends who struggle with drug addiction, and to all the family and friends of addicts: please don’t give up.
If you are in Kentucky and in need to get into rehab, please reach out to the Couchtown church of Christ. We will do whatever we can to help you get help.
If we can help you in any way, please reach out to us.
The churches of Christ stand ready to help you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.