|A Problem Many Times Worse Than Addiction||
|By dstrickland | 3 Sep 2009|
How one man's experience impacted a community
The same heartbreaking stories come to our attention over and over. "My [child, spouse, parent] has a problem with [anger, addiction, depression, sexual impurity], and I don't know what to do. I have [given him money, believed her lies, paid the utility bills, taken in the children] but things are only getting worse. Now I [worry all the time, have spent all my money, cannot concentrate enough to work, neglect my family] and nothing is better. I am at the end of my rope. What can I do?"
Ted Pearson, director of the Rescue Mission in Columbus, Nebraska, learned how to help people in these situations using the Living Free Groups. Here is how this one man responded and made an impact on his community.
"I would go to church and do the 'Sunday face' thing that people do. You know, walking in and when people asked 'How are you doing this morning?' and I would respond, 'Oh fine, fine. Great great.'" All the time my heart was torn in two because I had a daughter that was involved in drugs.
I knew the pain and hurt of having a loved one that's been mastered by something. And so I went to our pastor and I said, "We have got to do something about the people around a person with a life-mastering problem." I knew that for every person being harmed by life-mastering problems, there were ten people around them who were falling apart, too. I watch people. When a pastor has preached the sermon about the prodigal, often I have seen people crying because they have a prodigal out there. Churches are full people of who are hurting.
We looked at a lot of different ministries, and there are lots of ministries that address the addict. However, there are very few that address the people around the addict, and often they are hurting just as much as the addict, and possibly even more. Of course, there is help for the addict through the Living Free small group ministry, but I think the people at the Living Free Headquarters need to shout, THERE'S HELP FOR THE PERSON AROUND THE ADDICT. The number of people around the addict is a much larger number of people!
Living Free deals with the larger context of relationships, not just the addict. If someone has a loved one who is in jail, in treatment, out using or shacked up with a boyfriend or whatever sin a person is participating in, there is a loved one who is hurting. Living Free small groups help those people.
The results were phenomenal in our church. The ministry went through our church like a fire, and people were saved. People changed. I would get phone calls from all over the city saying, "We understand you've got something for my sons doing drugs and you've got something that can help me." It was really cool. It also changed my life.
I felt somewhat responsible for my daughter's problem. I came to faith in Christ late in life so she hadn't grown up in a Christian home. I had been anti-Christ, not just "pagan lost," but I was "anti-Christ." Through Turning Point, God enlightened me that I didn't need to carry those heavy burdens around in my backpack. Many others in the church experienced that same freedom.
"I am into practical theology, real stuff, real issues, and not just 'Well, we need to all gather around and pray for you.'" You can pray, that's good, and God tells us to do that. But going beyond that is possible. And so I think the practical application of Living Free was phenomenal. It worked. It works. It works. People are sitting around the table in their little defensive positions, but then they begin taking bricks out of their walls, and they are leveling...saying I am hurt, I am angry. They are getting their feelings out, and that makes a difference.
Perhaps this story is similar to yours. There are free resources on the Living Free website that you might find helpful.
You can look through the booklet Close but Not Too Close for some quick insights on this issue of how to help a loved-one struggling with a problem. If you choose, you can purchase a copy or download a PDF version.
Also, you might want to view for free session 5 titled Helping or Harming? in the Living Free training that deals with these issues. You might want to read through segment 5 in the Living Free Participant's Guide as you view the video. Read the content of the segment here.
Browse the helpful articles available in the "Help for My Loved One" section of the website.
Read through the Concerned Persons Group Members Guide, and if you like it, you can purchase a copy in the online store.
Show this article to your pastor and discuss the possibility of your church ministering to the many people in the community facing these issues.