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Thursday, January 03, 2019

Judge Not

Photo by Leroy_Skalstad

The photograph above reminded me of one of my uncles, a veteran of World War II. After the war, he became an alcoholic. My mother, his sister, claimed he never drank alcohol until after the war. I don't know what my uncle saw during his time in the service, but I do believe that he could have used some psychiatric help. He didn't get it and continued to drink to excess. Eventually, his wife divorced him. 

He spent time on the street, but he knew where to go when things got bad. He'd come out to New Jersey and stay with my parents for a while and dry out. He was a pleasant man when sober and quite adept at fixing things. He helped my parents with several DIY projects around the house, but after a while he'd leave and nobody would hear from him until he decided he needed help again. 

Toward the end of his life, he stayed with my grandmother most of the time. He passed away very soon after she died. 

I know how difficult it is for veterans to get help. I know my uncle went to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but obviously that didn't solve his problem. He had a sad life consumed for the most part by his addiction. Nevertheless, my parents always welcomed him. He wasn't completely without aid.

But there are people who have no place to go when things go bad.  If you saw the man above on the street what would you think of him? Would you think he was a lazy bum, a drunkard, or someone using street drugs? Would you believe he doesn't deserve any help because his situation is his own fault? What if he was a veteran? Or a man who lost his home in the last hurricane? Or the victim of a fire? 

Would that change your opinion of him? Would you be willing to give him aid then?

What if he was Mexican? Or Muslim? 

Most of us are quick to judge others, making assumptions based solely on their appearance. But everyone is a child of God. He knows their hearts and loves them. God is aware of their circumstances and their brokenness. 

The Bible labels drunkenness as a sin but it is prudent to count alcoholism as disease. Getting rid of an addiction is difficult and it cannot be done without assistance.

My parents never gave up on my uncle. They did not condemn him, but there wasn't a drop of alcohol in my parents' home when my uncle was there. And he knew it. However, he had a warm place to sleep and healthy food to eat. He knew someone cared. They offered him hope and a chance at wellness--at least for a little while. 💗

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