His name was ‘James’* and his story is not unique.
I have been working with recovering addicts for sometime now but only consistently with men in recovery on a weekly basis the last couple years. And hands down, they are much easier to work with – there is rarely any drama that I am pulled into, a different level of respect that I am given, and generally speaking they seem much more appreciative of the time I serve. (Take that lesson to heart, people notice how you act so be kind and loving.)
Anyway, this one particular day after leading a group, I sat down to talk with a man who was visiting the program. I knew his soul was in limbo and there was so much at stake for his future.
He, like so many I have met over the years, spent his formative years growing up behind bars. As a young teen he was tried and convicted as an adult so was sent off to the ‘wolves’ where more unimaginable things were done against him. He was open and honest in telling me his story. I find so often people just want a willing ear to listen. Don’t miss the opportunities to be another’s sounding board. Active listening often speaks louder than our many words careless spoken.
Now, here he sits decades later still a boy in a grown man’s body. He did not know how to relate to others, he had spent more years in jail than out in the ‘real’ world, and he was unsure of his next steps.
I knew if he didn’t choose this program that very day he would continue to be out of balance. Without having time to breathe and heal, he would perhaps return to crime on the streets. My heart bled for his loss of innocence and time to properly develop into an upright citizen. I prayed silently he would choose to stay.
And that is the reason I fell ‘in love‘ with this man-child because he just needed someone to look out for him, someone to help him find his way, someone to show him how to make an honest living. I wanted to be there for him, ‘parent’ him as I had my own sons, and just mentor him by showing him his worth and value. I knew if I could just love on him for awhile, he would in turn begin to once again love himself. Sadly, I never saw him again after this 15 minute one on one encounter. I was so glad I didn’t need to rush out that day, so glad I could take a few minutes to speak life into his soul, and I prayed the seeds I was trying to plant another someone would be able to water by taking a little time to listen and pour into him.
May we never become callused or in a hurry that we don’t take time out to see the potential ‘flowers’ growing in our midst.
Our we to be our brother’s keeper? I say: “Yes, yes we are.” Be a kingdom minded keeper of those God allows your path to cross. Our world would be a better place if we all reached out in kindness and in love.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3.12-14
* Hope the blog title was not offensive. It was just meant to be something catchy to grab your attention. Next, James’ name and story can fit so many I have met over the years. I am in no way breaching any confidential details of any one person inparticular. The point is fall in love with those around you, it will cause you to drop to your knees to be grateful for what life has dealt you, and to pray more fervently for those who have not found their way yet.
That is how to…
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