“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately, the leprosy left him and he was cured.”

To me, addiction is much like leprosy. As an addict I was enslaved, depressed, and lived in shame. My addiction pushed away many people I cared about leading me to live a lonely and empty life. I’m grateful for Jesus’ heart to have looked at me with compassion and reached out his hand when everyone else just gave their backs to me. And Jesus expects us to follow in his example. We must imitate the heart of Jesus to reach out our hands not only to the educated and prominent but also to the ones that are socially “unwanted” or “unaccepted”. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10) and he talked about tax collectors and prostitutes entering the kingdom of God (Matthew 21:31). Dealing with addicts takes a lot of Patience, Faith, Perseverance, Sacrifice, and most of all a whole lot of Love.

I am very grateful to have been a part of an amazing CR Ministry where God has healed so many hurts from my past, have learned so much about my character, and how to live a sober life. What is most impacting is seeing other peoples completely transform through God, his word, and a strong support group. I once had a coworker who was an addict. She would constantly offer to bring me marijuana and as a young disciple it was very tempting to just give in. I also shared with her about God and would constantly invite her to church and devotionals. One day she told me that she could never see herself not using. She grew up in a family that were all addicts; mom, dad, sister, and cousins. I remember us both being in tears as I told her that God has the power to free and heal anyone from any addiction. She studied the bible and a week later she was baptized and finally freed and given hope for a better life. She became my roommate, my best friend, and partner in the gospel. God used her life to impact many others.

God has put women in my life who are addicts, suicidal, or have prostituted themselves. I have made many mistakes in dealing with these women and God has exposed things in my character that I have to change and areas that I still have to grow in. And this is a great opportunity to imitate Jesus’ heart like in Mark 1, as God sends u to a lost, hurting, and wicked city. God wants us to take this city which has been built on pleasure and turn it upside down and proclaim this city for Him. This is going to require a lot of Sacrifice, Hard Work, Perseverance, Faith, and a lot of Love. Love for God, for the Mission, and for the Lost. 1 Corinthians 1:26-30 says “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose weak things of the world t shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.” We should never forget where we came from and that is was God who reached out his hand to us, sacrificing his own son to cleanse us from our own leprosy. And THAT was the day when the Untouchable Became Touchable.

-Jhoally Vallejo