Monday, July 1, 2013

Love...1 Corinthians 13.

Debby over at Living in Graceland wrote this post yesterday. She and her husband are Salvation Army "workers." Sorry Debby....ministers? Such a beautiful post about reaching out to the broken in body and spirit.

This post in particular made me think of the various forms that harm reduction can take. I don't think I could ever inject my girl or anyone for that matter, who was too sick to do it themselves. However, I am thinking harm reduction can take on many forms...kind of a semantics sort of thing. I think the bottom line of harm reduction is that it is based on unconditional love and not judgement and condemnation. We could change the terminology and call it something not so trendy....something that is steeped in the ages, something like "unconditional love." Or "long-suffering." Or "patience." Or "acceptance." "Unmerited favor."

1 Corinthians 13:
  If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
     Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
     Love never fails;
 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

We extend a hand to those in need, no matter how they got to where they are. We love others because we were first loved...even in our messes. We love them even when they aren't able to love themselves. We show them a path out.....if they choose to follow that path or not, is up them. Where the trick is for me is that if what I suggest isn't chosen....do I stop relationship? Do I cut off contact? Or do I keep on loving, do I accept the person as they are, where they are at in their journey? Accepting THEM does not mean I condone their behavior.Christ calls us to love the unlovely....how do we do that without enabling, without getting in the way of the plan that God has for our loved one, without forfeiting our own boundaries that preserve our own mental health and our well being?

 I naturally lean towards compassion. To a fault. So this has the potential to be a slippery slope for me. I am just thinking out loud here....finding my own balance.

Thanks for "listening."
Annette

4 comments:

Topper said...

Annette: I so agree with you.....it IS a slippery slope. I have so much trouble deciding what I will or won't do. My suggestions usually NOT taken by my addict son. Or by anyone else, for that matter....I guess folks just like to figure things out for themselves.

but what do I do in the way of providing support for those who I can so easily enable? I've learned over the years....no cash, gift cards, things easily sold. In my situation I can't allow unrestricted to my home. Talking, listening, rides, yes. I've given food and blankets when the person was living in their car. I hate this addiction thing. It has made me question what love is. It is so hard.

Debby said...

You were so kind to share a link to my blog, Annette. The balance you speak of is tricky and personal. It isn't one-size-fits-all. We just have to be who God made us.

Signe said...

1 Cor. 13 has been my guide through this whole addiction experience. Patient, kind, not judging...though fear and sadness in the form of anger and rage has slipped in, I still bounce back to that section of the Bible. As far as continuing as an enabler. I distance myself from the addiction not the addict (my daughter). I even hate using that term becasue it seems so binding. She is a person who is struggling (wrestling) with an addiction. She is NOT that addiction. They are seperate entities-one good (my child) one evil (the addiction trying to claim her).

Syd said...

I think that love and compassion win out over criticism and judging any day. It's all about balance though--to love ourselves as well and to stay healthy in mind and spirit and body.