A reader left a comment on my post about Teen Challenge, directing me to several links from a particular website run by someone who is very anti-Teen Challenge (and programs like it).
I think it is pretty much impossible to prove or disprove the comments of people who are against something. So much of the time, there is an agenda behind the comments. Perhaps that person had a personality conflict with a leader. Perhaps the person had a brother or cousin who did not succeed in Teen Challenge. Perhaps the person believes honestly that a program like Teen Challenge should be summarily destroyed because of the religious nature of the program. for some reason.
My experience at Teen Challenge that evening included talking with participants who were clearly in favor of the program, as well as a guy who had only been there a short time and felt that there were too many little picky rules.
I haven’t struggled with drug addiction or alcohol addiction and I know my knowledge of such things is extremely limited.
Of the things I read on the anti-TC websites, I saw a LOT of anger. Again, sometimes anger is justified, but sometimes it comes from disappointment or hurt.
I want to be careful how I say this because I do not want to be misunderstood as condoning any type of abuse. Sometimes people need to hear honest and true things and those things might need to be said forcefully (not yelling, just firmly and clearly). After all, I would guess that ANYONE involved in drug abuse has issues with self-discipline, anger, authority, and self-esteem.
My intent was not to direct anyone to Teen Challenge, as much as to share my experience with being there and my deep belief that Jesus is my hope. So much has been written and said and even done in the name of Jesus that has been hurtful to other people, but that is because people are human. I know that Jesus does change hearts and lives. Once any one of us understands that we are a dearly loved child of God, we can begin to live a different life — one that includes peace, hope, faith and love.
I am sad for anyone who tries Teen Challenge or any other program and comes away from it still broken and still addicted. And I was aware that night that the three guys who were graduating still had a pretty tough row to hoe and my prayers were with them as they left the security of the program location and learned to apply their knowledge in the real world.