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What can you do for your loved one when they don’t want help?
A father came to me recently with great concern for his daughter. “She is 23, living in our home, working a job, and using drugs. She has refused our advice and rejected our offer to get help with her drug use problem. What can we do?”
I’d like to share with you what I told this father. Many others have asked me the same question. Call this my open letter to all family members that are faced with the challenge of a loved one who is using drugs, but doesn’t want help. Personalize the letter to your own situation as you read my response to this family.
Let me say first of all, that you and your wife are possibly the two most influential people in your daughter’s life today. Even though she is unwilling to seek the help you believe she needs, you can be part of feeding her problem, or you can be a key part in bringing positive change into her life.
You cannot make her change. You cannot change her attitude toward drug use, nor can you change her behavior. One of the most basic steps for anyone to get help is to admit that they have a problem and they need help to change.
So if your daughter does not want help, and does not believe she has a problem, what can you do?
You will need a good foundation to build an effective Living Free ministry. You can do this by learning as much as possible yourself and then sharing what you learn with others.
Our office will help you. Ask us your questions. We are glad to help.
Here are steps you can follow as an individual to encourage your congregation or group to begin Living Free groups in your church or ministry.
The first step you should take is to learn as much as you can about Living Free. Study the the website. Order the training series, or if that is impossible, watch the training series online so that you can experience first-hand what you want to encourage the church to enjoy. After you review the materials, you may want to encourage some others to join you and look at them. Test the interest level and see if there is a group of people who might like to work together to make this ministry a reality in your church. Remember, studying the materials as an individual is never as effective as experiencing them is a small group. We need the eyes of others to see ourselves as we really are and the encouragement of others to apply the wisdom of God’s word to the difficult areas of our lives.
As you consider taking this information to your church leaders, be sure to pray. When you meet with them, tell them about your own experience and how you think that these materials could help many others. Always keep a good attitude, even if the leaders are not receptive to you. Remember, it is God that opens and closes doors, and he has his own perfect timing for everything.
Try to see things from the perspective of ministry leaders. Most church leaders are overworked and underpaid and experience many demands competing for their time. Sometimes they will see a ministry like this as just another activity that they will have to staff and manage. So if you want to see this ministry in your church, be sure that you’re volunteering to make it happen and not just handing it off for someone else to do. When leaders see such a commitment, it will eliminate some of the barriers to beginning a new ministry.
Hello dear friends,
During a season that is typically filled with hurry and pressure for so many people, we wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on God’s incredible provision of His Son, Jesus.
Without Jesus, all the work and ministry of Living Free would be fruitless.
Without Jesus, all the small groups and curriculum would hold no power over bondage and shame.
Without Jesus, all the donations and hours and service would be pointless.
But thankfully, we have Immanuel — God WITH US — who equips, empowers, and sets captive FREE. This is why we rejoice this Christmas season!
We are thankful for you, our friends and partners, as well. Thank you for allowing Immanuel to fill you and work through you in the lives of others.
— The Living Free Team
As we’re coming to the end of 2016 and we’re preparing to launch new initiatives in the coming year, I’d like to ask you to consider a year-end donation to Living Free.
If your family is like mine, at least one member has been harmed or has died from an addiction to prescription pain drugs or heroin. The hardcore drugs that used to be found mainly in urban areas have spread to rural areas with devastating impact.
Regardless of location, wealth, or social status, families everywhere are at risk. Recently, in a rural county town of 6000, a leader of a new Living Free ministry lost a child to a drug overdose. It becomes ever more clear as we pray for this leader that these problems are not just happening to “those other people.”
A recent news report in The Tennessean stated that one in six people abuse pain medicines and other opiates in the state. These rates are similar elsewhere per CDC statistics cited in the article.
Government officials in many states have invited the Christian community to engage with this crisis. The problem is that many don’t know where to begin or how to help. Most solutions default to expensive residential models that exclude 90% of the people who need help and offer little or no help to the family members of those struggling with life-controlling issues.
This gap in resources is the perfect opportunity for Living Free Community to help multitudes of people who need a nonresidential alternative. Already, thousands of volunteers are working in more than 200 Living Free allied ministries in 26 states and in scores of countries around the world. But thousands of U.S. counties are not yet served.
Because the need is so vast and this open door from governments could close suddenly, our team is praying, planning, and mobilizing to launch more ministries quickly. We desperately need the help of the Living Free family and friends to make this happen.
God has given our Living Free team the vision to see 2000 local Living Free ministries providing nonresidential ministry to 400,000 persons annually in the next 10 years.
This is a God-sized goal, but this and more is possible as we work together to empower Christians everywhere to bring gospel-centered solutions to persons struggling with life’s problems.
This is why I am appealing to the Living Free family for an end-of-year gift to help us take the next steps together to fulfill this calling. And should you choose to do so, a recurring monthly contribution can be set up.
Online donations can be made at LivingFree.org by clicking the “Support Living Free” button.
Thank you for being part of this great Living Free movement.
Dan Strickland, President of Living Free
When life goes smoothly, when all seems right with the world, God’s faithfulness is rarely a concern. But in the midst of struggles and adversity, when the future looks unclear, or problems seem to defy resolution, we need assurance of His faithfulness. In “Faithful, No Matter What,” Dr. Jimmy Lee has assembled a rich and varied collection of amazing stories from men and women who have trusted in – and experienced – God’s faithfulness.
We were honored to have Dr. Lee join us for a brief interview on the book:
When you stop enabling — when you stop offering the wrong kind of help — you have no guarantee of quick solutions in the life of your loved one.
Your loved one may become very angry at you-and for a “good” reason. You’ve stopped rescuing them. Now they are beginning to feel the painful consequences of their irresponsible decisions.
He or she may attack you, “What kind of a Christian are you! Doesn’t the Bible say you are supposed to help people in need?” They will use any argument to heap guilt and condemnation on you-but don’t receive that into your heart.
You must stand on the facts — especially if you have a tender heart, easily moved by emotional, passionate messages. You must continue to rehearse the facts.
Are You Afraid to Trust God?
When you stop enabling your loved one it may involve letting your loved one go down the path of destruction. You may be saying, “I can’t bear to see my daughter in such pain and danger. She might get killed! And then I would have her death on my hands. I can’t let that happen!” Are you saying you are afraid to trust God? Is your God big enough to keep track of your child headed down the path of rebellion? Is your God too busy to give personal attention to the needs of your loved one?
The Prodigal Son’s Father was Not an Enabler
Place your hope in the story of the prodigal son recorded in Luke chapter 15. We see a powerful picture of a father who did not enable his son. He allowed him to leave home, knowing the son would soon waste the inheritance he had worked a lifetime to save.
Even though the Bible does not give us all the details, I am sure this father lived in pain, not knowing what was going on in his son’s life.
If you have read this story recently you know that the son left home, spent everything he had, ended up in a pig pen, and died. Right? No-but isn’t that what many people fear will happen to their child-if I let him go down that path, and don’t stop him, he’s going to die!
So what brought the rebellious son to a place of being ready to change? He ended up in the pig pen, and went to his psychiatrist and worked through all his childhood traumas and found the answers — No! I’m not against godly counseling, but counseling is not always the answer. Luke says he ended up in the pig pen. He was so hungry that he was tempted to eat what the pigs left when they had finished eating.
I was raised on a small farm in Wisconsin. We raised a few pigs, and many days I fed them. But never was I tempted to eat what they left! This young man must have been really desperate!
God’s Help for Rebellious Children
Now comes the good news from the pig pen-Luke says, “and no one helped him.”(verse 16) God did not condemn anyone for failing to help this desperate young man in the pig pen. No thundering judgement from heaven toward those who did nothing.
Where is the father? Why isn’t he out looking for his son? Doesn’t he care that his son is starving to death?
The father is at home-waiting in painful peace. Peace because he has committed his son into God’s hands. Painful peace, because he hurts for his son who is hurting. But he waits for God’s solution. He’s not going to get in God’s way.
So what is happening to the son? Since “no one helped him,” he’s experiencing the full pain of his irresponsible decisions.
The very next words point to the truth of God’s way of helping stubborn children caught up in a destructive lifestyle-“He came to his senses.”
“How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.”(vs. 17-19 NIV)
Who can take credit for helping the son in his greatest time of need? No one! At the point of starving to death-he came to his senses. At the lowest point in his life-God still knew exactly where he was.
The son made a choice-the right choice-that put him on the path to restoration-the path to life!
When he meets his father, true repentance comes with his words, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” (vs. 21) He takes personal responsibility for his past actions. It’s time for joyful peace and a celebration!
Copyright © 1999, 2005 By David Batty. Used by permission.