This month I’d like to share three names with you. The first name is Thomas; actually that’s not his real name. I need to protect his real name because Thomas is a heroine addict, and he’s incarcerated at Richmond City Jail. Thomas was a barber by trade, but his addiction sent his life spiraling out of control as heroine and depression consumed his life. At one point he was even dealing heroine out of his barber shop. He was caught and arrested and now he calls the Richmond City Jail home.
Holding to this principle, Michael met, prayed and counseled with Thomas on numerous occasions over several months. On the surface Thomas’ issue seemed to be depression and heroine addiction, but why? What’s behind the depression? The answer turned out to be a singular childhood event that dramatically altered Thomas’ life. This event would define how Thomas thought about himself. When Thomas was five years old he and his older brother were home alone. They found their father’s gun in his dresser drawer and decided to play a game with the gun. Thomas pointed the gun at his brother, squeezed the trigger and shot him. His brother died. Imagine that. At five years old this little boy took his older brother’s life.
Michael explained to me that, “His child’s mind was incapable of adult reasoning that would provide a means to understand the true reality and consequences of this act. Somehow in his mind, he held himself accountable as an adult for taking his brother’s life. And this was his conflict and the driving force behind his depression and addiction.”
Michael further explained that through many more counseling sessions, “Thomas saw and accepted that it was his father, not him, who was responsible for the safety of his children. Leaving them alone in the home with a loaded gun was an extreme act of negligence. He then saw that it was not him that was responsible for the tragedy, but an incompetent and negligent parent.”
Ironically, it took Thomas being behind bars to help him gain inner freedom from the thing that has kept him prisoner ever since he was five! In the spirit of Romans 8:28, God worked through the incarceration to bring about good. The source of Thomas’ healing is the third name I want to share with you; Jesus Christ. In Luke 4 Christ reads from the book of Isaiah where it says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Michael Gerace is doing Christ’s work in the Richmond City Jail as Christ works through him to help “set the captives free.” Michael says, “I seek to tap into the warm bread of life within me and give it away to others.” This work is hard, time consuming, gritty work, but it’s gospel work. Perhaps you’d like to help Michael in this work and join God where God is working. If this is the case, let me ask you to do two things: First, would you please pray for Michael and the men he ministers to at the Jail? Prayer changes lives and I believe Christ is changing lives through Michael as he ministers to these men. Michael covets your prayers. Secondly, would you think about supporting ADJM financially? ADJM is hoping to find regular donors to support this ministry on a monthly basis. No amount is too small. When we help ADJM we help folks like Thomas and I think in the end we help to usher in God’s Kingdom. If you’d like to learn more about supporting ADJM please go to their website: www.abovedivision.org. Thank you for considering this request. May God bless you, may God bless Thomas and Michael and may God bless Bethel Baptist Church. Amen.