One of the things that makes us at Shepherd’s House Ministries unique is that we place great value on relationships. We aspire to create deep, meaningful, life-long connections. To that end we focus on being a Christ-centered community as opposed to being a ‘recovery program’. Our culture focuses on the “we are gonna love you like Jesus loves you” rather than the “we are gonna repeatedly beat you over the head with the Bible”.
In American culture we make the assumption that if someone has problems in life it is because they lack specific knowledge. We think: “If we give them this specific knowledge, viola, they will change their behaviors and their life will get better!”
Your average ‘recovery program’ is built around classes on Addiction, Relapse Prevention, The 12-Steps, Life Skills, etc. I can’t tell you how many of those classes I have taught and I find it bordering on the insane because the vast majority of the individuals in the class know the course material better than I do! Most of them have been through similar classes as many as a dozen times – yet here they are.
It is not knowledge that people lack. The missing pieces are deep, meaningful, authentic, needs-fulfilling relationships. Current neuroscience research shows the human brain that was subjected to childhood abuse needs to experience acceptance and unconditional love in order for healing to begin.
Johan Hari ends his book with the statement: “The opposite of addiction is not recovery. The opposite of addiction is connection.”
He is so right!
We desire to connect deeply with people through the love of Jesus. We see our primary focus as meeting people where they are, accepting them as they are, and loving them with the love of Jesus for who they are. In that space is where the miracle of transformation happens.
By Cash Lowe
Organizational Chaplain, Shepherd’s House Ministries