Compassion for Criminals

Charlotte Ramsey Chaney - Speaker, Author, CoachWho is in greater captivity the captured Christians or those who hold them in bondage?
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:18-21 (ESV)
In my recovery work, I have recently come to see deep places in human souls that hold wounds so dark, it’s hard for many of us to fathom. These are people many of us interact with on a daily basis, but the hurts don’t exactly come through the façade which is needed to function in a world where we are expected to look perfect.
I know a girl whose father repeatedly made all his children state, “I am stupid.” I love many people who have been emotionally, physically, sexually or spiritually abused. Adding salt to many wounds, victims often never have proper acknowledgment of the pain they suffered even if they eventually come forth.
My level of compassion for people has deepened over time, as my degree of judgment has lowered. Hurting people hurt people, something I have learned well over time.
When we hear stories of someone doing something hurtful to another human being we are quick to judge without ever taking a minute to wonder why that person did what they did. Recently someone in our community made a pretty heinous attempt at some weird vulgarity. It hit home because it involves a well-known local Christian family and has received mega media coverage in our area.
I assume the majority of the audience is viewing the story with harsh judgment towards the absurd behavior. I can’t help but think that this individual has a problem, like many of us do on one level or another.
Sadly, seeking recovery in our world is frowned upon. How can someone risk getting caught putting a camera in a bathroom rather than show up to a counselor’s office and admitting they have a problem with voyeurism.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Romans 6:12 (ESV)
I am beginning to understand sin and addiction in a way I have never understood. I have come to realize that a person who has multiple affairs is very likely a sex addict not necessarily someone who simply doesn’t care about his or her commitment and family. No one truly chooses to drug or drink over a loving family, but rather is a slave to a true addiction. Anyone that would abuse a child has a degree of pain and wounds that simply go beyond what many of us can comprehend. Here too, I believe this compulsion is out of their realm of control and admitting their need is the first step for treatment.
 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15 (ESV)
I don’t believe anyone in their right mind desires to hurt others the way many people do. Think of a road-rager, that is probably not an evil person but someone who got caught up in their flesh and lost self-control. People don’t realize the degree of their captivity to emotional disease and the loyalty of their flesh to sin.
For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Romans 7:18-20
For one reason or another most people are insistent on dealing with emotional captivity with will power (which has proven to fail us). Over and over we see people in need of recovery state, “I don’t like groups.”
There is a great chance that every person in every “room” showed up hating groups but it was their last resort. The compulsive behavior had reached an all time level of insanity, accompanied by a deep measure of destruction.
Admitting we are powerless over a certain compulsion is very hard, especially for a Christian. After all, aren’t we supposed to show the world what a Mighty God we serve? Can we really show the world the power of God, through admitting our weaknesses and our true reliance on God?
 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12 (ESV)
As time goes in I will reveal to you how drastic things became after I came back on the scene from my cancer recovery. Like a worn out wet dog I showed up to a counselor’s office, followed by committing to various 12-step programs to begin deep recovery work for my own hurts and hang ups.
Perhaps you look down on me for admitting my need, but perhaps you see how capable I have become since I have started recovery. I often think of someone who won’t go to AA because they are afraid others will then know they have a drinking problem and to that person I say, “Everyone already knows you have a drinking problem.” Same thing goes for those us who struggle with codependency, control, food and other issues.
The bottom line is there is all sorts of help out there. I hope that if you need someone to talk to you will step out as I have, and find the right avenue. Perhaps a counselor, a 12-step program a call into a psychologist led radio program like New Life Live?
Find a local anonymous group. You won’t believe how anxious people are to welcome you!
Here’s some resources:
Christ Centered Recovery for all types of Hurts and Hang Ups
Celebrate Recovery
Do you love an addict or been affected by another’s addiction?
Do you use food to hide your feelings?
OverEaters Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous
Sex Addicts Anonymous
Gambling, Gaming, Adult Children of Alcoholics , Shopping you get the drill.
Here are the 12 The Steps of Recovery as taken from the Bible.
The Serenity Prayer


Home / Celebrate Recovery Home / Resources / The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is;
Not as I would have it;

Trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

–Reinhold Niebuhr


Comment (1)

Understanding human behavior has long been a pursuit of humanity. I agree, we have to slow down and see what’s going on in our own lives before we rush to judgment about the behaviors of others. Self assessment is key to understanding humanity as a whole!

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