Rum is not the Problem!
This morning I went to visit some friends, and almost immediately noticed Jamie (not his real name) had a very sizeable wound under his right eye.
The wound itself broke my heart, but what bothered me more was I knew exactly how it happened……
He had become drunk, and face-down on the ground.
Jamie is a very hard worker, but he’s absolutely addicted to strong rum that can be purchased here cheaply (a small bottle is about seven East Caribbean dollars). Most of the time Jamie is running errands for the owners of local shops who instead of giving him money, give bottles of rum. Because he has a learning disability, it’s easier for people to take advantage of Jamie by giving shots of rum instead of money, so he often goes a day without eating.
Even more heartbreaking the community of Barrouallie is filled with Jamie’s.
These individuals may not struggle mentally like Jamie does, but just like him, their lives revolve around strong rum.
Which brings up the question…..how do we reach people like Jamie?
The first step is understanding rum is not their problem
I visit with Jamie’s mother almost every week so we can pray, and read Scripture together. As you can imagine her heart breaks seeing the affect alcohol has on her son just like me. This pain leads her to confront her son almost daily about not drinking. Occasionally Jamie will stop drinking for a short-period of time (a few weeks) but soon he’s back to spending most of his day at the rum shop.
The point is telling someone to stop drinking is not enough because rum is not the problem!
The HEART is the problem!
The reason Jamie (and so many others) are enslaved by rum is their hearts are far away from God. Even if they DID stop drinking successfully, that won’t change their filthy heart! So instead of focusing on the rum (a symptom of the sin problem) we must focus on their heart relationship with God. Only the Gospel of Christ can truly break their cycle of addiction.
Reaching the Jamie’s of this world isn’t about telling them “stop it!” but about explaining the truths of Scripture in a loving way. Recently I began cooking for Jamie a few times a week. Eventually those meals will lead a time when we can read Scripture and discuss the Gospel on my front porch. Pray for me as I continue to build a stronger relationship with Jamie, and point him to my Saviour.
Because once someone has drank from the fountain of living waters, rum isn’t good enough anymore.