Matthew 25:35,36,40 – For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. (NIV)
Yesterday, I described how I have been able to help clients at a drug addiction rehabilitation centre. Now I want to tell how they have helped me.
It wasn't long after I started working with the clients at the rehab centre that I realized that I was away out of my element when it came to them and their addictions. The centre decided to help me out, and sent me on a four-day course, so that I might gain more knowledge in this area. I did gain a lot of head knowledge as a result of the course, but the real knowledge, the heart knowledge, came from living with the clients at the treatment centre where the course was held.
At meal times during the four days that I was there, I made a conscious effort to sit with the men and women who were there for treatment. They opened up to me right away and shared with me about their addictions and how they made them feel.
Many of them shared their lack of spirituality with me, as well as the stories of their addictions. God opened up, not only a place for me to help, but also, more to the point, a place for me to learn how they could help me.
The clients showed me the powerful devil that drugs and alcohol can be for many people. They spoke of the devil on their back, and then asked for my help, not as a counsellor, but as a friend who was willing to listen to their stories and to hold their hands as they cried.
This has given me many hours of interesting conversation and led me to many new friends. When I got to know these people, I learned that addicts or alcoholics are not necessarily the down-and-out bums on skid row. They are men and women with more education than I have, who had high paying jobs, before the drugs and alcohol took over. They are women who are housewives and mothers. They are young and they are old. They are real individuals, people about whom Jesus is concerned. Jesus said that when we serve them, we serve him.
God has taught me so many lessons and has so richly blessed me by bringing them into my life. He will do the same for you.
Prayer: God grant me the ability to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.