Renaissance Ranch

WWJD: What Would Jesus Do for Substance Abusers? (Part 1)

Nov 21, 2023

Ever feel like Jesus loves everyone but you? That He forgives all sins except the kind that you’ve committed? That’s the Big Lie, brought to you by Satan himself.

We see it all the time at our Salt Lake City-area LDS drug treatment center (LDS refers to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). People come to us feeling as low as the dirt itself. They don’t feel worthy of self-love, let alone the love of the Savior.

To all of them, and to anyone reading this blog, we say, “Take a closer look at the life of Jesus!” In His actions and His words, Jesus focused on the very people who might have considered themselves unworthy of His love.

And since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Bible, King James Version, Hebrews 13:8), everything He did and said when He walked on this earth applies to you now. That’s how we know that if Jesus were standing right here today, He would do the following for you:

What Would Jesus Do for Substance Abusers Part 1


Withhold judgment

Sometimes, we think that Jesus is there for the perfect people, and the rest of us have wandered badly off script. We’re the misfits and delinquents, and He might be shocked to hear all that we’ve done.

Not so. From the beginning, Christ volunteered to do His work with the sinners. He “came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (KJV, Luke 5:32). And who are the sinners? All of us. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Did you get that? Not SOME have sinned. ALL have sinned.

Jesus Christ knew from the beginning that not one person was going to get it right, and He would step in on behalf of the fallen–all of us. Exactly how fallen we are is beside the point, because the atonement rolls out like an endless bolt of fabric to cover any size gap. Whether you have given in to addiction a little or a lot, it doesn’t matter in His eyes. In the end, the atonement exists to get us all to the same place.

During His lifetime, Jesus continually reminded people to “judge not that ye be not judged (KJV, Matthew 7:1). He told the crowd menacing the adulterous woman to hold their stones unless they were without sin (KJV, John 8:7). He wasn’t there to judge. He was only there to heal. And so it is for you, too.

Know exactly how to help you

Remember when Jesus found the woman at the well (KJV, John 4:29)? He shattered norms by asking her for something to drink. After all, society considered her inferior because of her gender and ethnicity (a Samaritan). And then there was the matter of her life choices. She’d been married and divorced five times and was currently living with a man who she wasn’t even married to.

She was astonished that Jesus would spend time with her. And not only that, He miraculously managed to, in her words, tell her “all that I ever did” (KJV, John 4:29). Somehow, this stranger knew her background story, her thoughts, and her intentions.

He knew her like He knows you—more intimately than you know yourself. That’s why He is the ultimate therapist and healer. He knows what has wounded and fragmented you and what will ultimately make you whole. He has felt every last one of your infirmities, pains, afflictions, sicknesses, and temptations (Book of Mormon, Alma 7:11-12).

So when you cry out that no one understands how you feel, you’re missing a key truth. He gets it, having felt it all in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is perfectly positioned to understand and to help you heal in the way that will work best for you.

Never give up on you

Ever lost something important to you? Money? A wedding ring? Your driver’s license? The question becomes, when do you finally hold up your white flag and stop looking? Maybe you’ve torn the house apart looking, searched in every drawer and under every couch cushion, but it didn’t turn up. At some point, you’ve probably had to call off the search rather than waste more precious time on this object that continues to evade you.

If you were lost, guess how long the Savior would search for you? He shares multiple parables in Luke 15, each addressing that question, and the answer is: never!

In the first parable, a shepherd leaves the 99 sheep and goes in search of the lost one UNTIL he finds it. That means he’s out there hiking through the craggy mountains day and night. He’s dealing with the elements and ravaging wolves and won’t turn back until he finds that one sheep. The shepherd is the Savior.

In the second parable, the Savior describes a woman who has nine pieces of silver but won’t leave off “seeking diligently” for the tenth one “till she find it.” That woman scouring her house indefinitely until she rescues that coin represents the Savior in search of all of us who wander.

See the theme? Any mortal would call off the search parties, but the Savior won’t. When you decide you’re willing to be found, He’ll do what He did with the lost sheep: “He layeth it on His shoulders, rejoicing.”

These are just a few examples of how the Savior would react to you, no matter where you are on your addiction recovery journey (or even if you’re not yet on that journey at all). Watch for our next blog that will continue this message.

This isn’t just scripture talk. It’s real, and it applies to you. We’ve seen the Savior’s consistent works in the lives of those who seek help at our faith-based drug rehab here in Utah. Take a step toward Him, and He’ll be at your side. He’s been looking for you.