I met him on a Monday...late in the afternoon. He had sought me out. He needed...help, advice, direction...solace...something. He was young, married, the father of two children. He was tall and slim, his upper body covered with tattoos. Whoever had done the work on him was quite skilled. The pictures and lettering were clean and artfully done.
He cried, uncontrollably. He had acted badly. His wife was in a shelter, his children removed from him. There was a restrai...ning order and a hearing. Pain killers and alcchol...he shared with me the story of his addictions.
He had been in NA. He was a member of a large, non-denominational church. He hadn't been to either for a while. And he had come into my office needing...
We talked, he and I, for about 45 minutes. It slowly dawned on me. What he needed was absolution. He had confessed his sins, now he needed the love of God.
We talked a lot about the reality of the demon called addiction. We talked about the song the demon sings just when you want to get clean and you are talking the talk. It's the walking the walk that's so hard. We talked about what he was facing, legally. We talked about his sins.
He said he didn't know what to do. He had a place to stay, a car and funds. He had food, shelter and clothing. He also had remorse and fear. He was at his wit's end.
I told him he had two four letter words in front of him: time and walk. He needed to live out the time of his restraining order. He needed to walk the walk of getting back into NA. He had come into my office. He needed to know that he wasn't alone. He needed to know that God loved him.
I absolved this young man of his sins. We held hands as we prayed...the smell of alcohol strong on his breath. "You are forgiven, " I told him. "Now, go and sin no more. And get back to..." and I named his church. And i invited him to come back to us. When he left my office, he was much calmer.
I don't know why he chose my office rather than an office in his home church. I don't know if he will get back into a 12 step program, if he and his wife will be reunited, if his restraining order will be lifted. I don't know about his children.
I don't know if I'll ever see him again. I just know that the Spirit of God directed him into a place in which he could feel safe. I was given the gift of listening to him, and loving him as a brother in Christ.
When he left my office, his crying had ceased. This young man, this addict who had lost his temper and become violent; this young man who was facing the loss of everything he held dear was absolved. He found grace; not mine, but God's. May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with him...and with you. Amen.