Thursday, 11 June 2009

Judgment and Mercy


Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi

My friend 'J' just popped over and gave me a pair of trousers he had been given, which didn't fit him. He told me yesterday that the judge yesterday made it explicit to him that he must not 'blow over' in morning tests for alcohol in order to attend his drug rehabilitation group and to get methadone.

He had to explain to the judge, "Your honour, I am trying but it is really hard because I am an alcoholic and so often 'blow over' in tests in the morning because I have had too much the night before." He has been very concerned that in failing the alcohol test that he would blow over so many times that he would get sent back to jail because the group do not allow you to join if you have alcohol in your system.

This seems rather unfair, given that so many of the people on this programme require treatment for drug addiction...yet so little leniency is shown to people who suffer the dual addiction of drug and alcohol depenency. He must now record a 0% test for alcohol 4 times in a week in order to be accepted on the Drug Rehabilitation Initiative (DRI). Yet, for him this is a great struggle. If he does not do this he will be sent into rehab proper. This may sound like a good thing, but at the same time, he feels as if he is on probation for alcohol addiction, rather than for drug addiction. He feels like he is being told, 'Achieve this, or else,' which is hard, given that he is not really given very much other support in order to overcome alcoholism.

He feels like he is walking a tightrope. He feels like the system is designed for him to fail and he is sick of failure. Of course, if he fails the DRI completely, or doesn't turn up, the threat of jail is lurking somewhere there for him. I find this method of 'rehabilitation' to be a little cold, harsh and judgmental. I am no expert in the field, but it seems to me very unChristian.

It is in stark contrast to the way in which God works with us. By a constant humbling of His own self - by an outstretched hand of Grace, the Blessed Trinity draws us deeper into His Divine Life. By His consoling, uncontrolling hand of Grace, Christ heals wounds and afflictions of the soul. Not through force, no. Not by threat of punishment. He does not hold His hand over us, in a threatening way. He does not punish our weakness. Instead, through the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church, He restores souls to God, to purity and wholeness. He is Strong, but Meek, even though He is the Lord of the weak and the strong.

He blesses us even when we are in sin, then He forgives us when we acknowledge our faults. In this He shows us His perfect love. Almighty, yet tender. What great and awesome responsibility then lays on the shoulders of judges, that they must reflect not only His Justice, but His mercy and His love also!

1 comment:

Dilly said...

Here is a list of AA meetings in Brighton. You would be doing your friend an immense favour if you could get him to ring the number thereon. If both your legs are on fire - you don't put the fire out in one, then count yourself as doing well.....
http://www.aa-gb.org.uk/southeast/brighton/

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