Every few weeks I lead a Sunday morning bible study at a local drug recovery center. Typically, my father in law leads this ministry but when he’s out-of-town or too busy I’m his back up teacher. I never turn down the opportunity.
Some of the faces I see again and again, but many are new. After jail time served this live-in program tries to prepare the recovering addict for life normalcy and a steady job. After three months or so most have met their counseling hours and legal court ordered requirements and they are given tentative freedom apart from the structure of the house.
All the faces at the study, men and women, are worn and marked by hard living no matter how young they are.
I used to wrestle with what message I could bring to these weary souls.
The extent of my illegal drug intake was a brief stint of youth binge drinking. I never served hard time for anything, just a few hours of community service for “underage consumption of alcohol.” Spring break court got me off easy.
The stories of these struggling addicts testifies of meth labs, broken families, prostitution, theft, and strings of court proceedings.
I’ve found I don’t need to pound much on their sinfulness and wickedness. The fallout from their fallen nature is all too evident to them. They’ve been pegged mercilessly by the curveballs of life. It’s all staring at them in the mirror every morning.
They know their grave error(s). They’ve made a shipwreck out of their lives, their families, their careers. They’ve abused the trust of those who love them most They’re at this voluntary weekly bible study because they’re well aware of all this.
The Law misapplied would only exponentially add to the guilt they daily carry.
So I don’t speak much at all about addiction or how to be a better parent, church member, or law-abiding citizen. I can’t offer much in the way of witty sounding psycho babble and I’m not qualified to lead them up the mountain of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
I choose to speak about grace.
I speak about a Father who adopts rebellious children, regardless of dark pasts, A Father who supersedes and perfectly satisfies the deep intimate family craving they’ve felt since an infant.
I share what it means to be adopted by a King.
What it means to be an heir of His Kingdom.
What it means to have an elder brother sacrifice His life for us.
What it means to be a child.
I don’t know if that is exactly what they need or want to hear. I know it is the best news I can muster up for bruised reeds who are already broken.
Their addiction doesn’t have to be the all consuming label of their lives. The Father of Addicts sees them through the lens of His perfect Son’s blood. And they likewise are perfect.
Precious children forevermore.