“Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?“
The Bible clearly speaks against being judgmental. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace and mercy. I try to follow God’s mandate. Recently, I realized why God commands that we not judge others.
In my unofficial ministry to the homeless in Bucks County, PA, I’ve ministered to people with drug and alcohol problems and tried to get some of them into Christian rehab. One night, at the Veteran’s Memorial behind the Levittown library, as I was hanging out by myself at the memorial about midnight, a young guy who had left a local recovery house drifted in. We talked at length, he thanked me for talking with him about his problem and he went on his way.
Recently, someone I suspected was using drugs reluctantly admitted to it for fear I would condemn her. I told her I do not condemn her but urged her to get clean.
When people condemn drug addicts, treat them like lepers, it contributes to them wanting to give up. They already know they are outcasts. Addicts need acceptance as human beings and encouragement.
Jesus did not condemn the woman at the well, who, seeing herself as an outcast, went to draw water from the well when nobody else was around. After Jesus gently uncovered her sin, He told her “I don’t condemn you” and to “go and sin no more.”
We should not condemn drug addicts, but we should gently admonish them and address their problem and treat it as sin. The campaign in places such as Bucks County PA to remove the stigma of addiction needs to be explained. Like Jesus, we don’t judge drug addicts but we should not give them a free pass for what they are doing.
Stigma defined: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
“the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me”· “debt has lost its stigma and is now a part of everyday life”
Decades ago, I didn’t follow up on a possibility of being a counselor at a methadone center where I worked part time during my early college years. At my meeting with a counselor who tried to interest me in counseling at the center, he showed me materials that pitched not telling clients that they are in their situation because of something they did wrong. The idea of sin and pastors who preach in the tradition in which I was brought up about the total depravity of man was dismissed.
Drug addiction is a choice, a sinful one. For sure, it seems to addicts that the addiction is out of control and their lives have become unmanageable. The only way to overcome addiction, as someone in Bucks County, PA recently did, was surrender to Jesus. We can’t handle such problems on our own but need God to take control of our life.
Drugs are not the only addiction. There’s food, power, money and many more.
I’ve been reading the book Narcotics Anonymous. I read that projecting events where that things don’t pan out the way the addict wants and consequently gets bummed out is common to addicts. I am not a substance abuser but I do the same thing!
In a one on one counseling center with a pastor, he admonished me to let God take control of my life – to give problems to Him.
We can have victory in the war on drug abuse not by calling it a disease, and relieving users of accountability, but by showing people Jesus in our lives and partnering with them in their journey to recovery.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20