Stealing, pain, screaming, heartbreak. How do you come to forgive those who hurt you the deepest, those who were meant to love and protect you?
When I was small, I never thought I would have to deal with the effects of addiction, especially within the walls of my own home. Substance abuse and other forms of addiction were completely foreign to me, and when I would see loitering smokers standing outside of buildings, I would quickly become afraid of them. Unfortunately, I and so many other members of the church have a natural response to those who do not always follow the principles of the Gospel: we are quick to judge others for their choices and mistakes.
As I have grown and endured a long haul of tragic and excruciatingly painful events, my heart has been changed and humbled when considering addiction.
A family member of mine has been a long-time suffering addict. This person is clean-cut, respectful, and reasonable. No one upon first glance would ever see the pain and weariness in their eyes. The signs of an increasing problem started small. A few coins would go missing from the car ashtray, and a few dollars would be misplaced here and there. These small accounts of missing money would go unnoticed or be forgotten. As months went by, my family was in a constant panic regarding the amount of missing items or money throughout the home.
Things got bad enough, that I would place my wallet under my bed each night, out of fear that it would be stolen. Although this person would never admit to stealing anything and acted completely innocent and normal, something in my heart was telling me and the rest of my family that something was amiss. I know now that the feeling was the Spirit trying to get through to us all. After so many nights of arguments, sweat, tears, and accusations, this person finally admitted to having an addiction to heroin and was desperately in need of help.
The amount of betrayal I felt and the hatred I harbored toward this person was unbearable. This person was meant to build me up, and was not meant to make me feel vulnerable and small.