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2013-04-04 digital edition

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2013-04-04 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

Getting Cleaned Out

“Is it possible to get all that cleaned out?” Carl asked.

Carl’s life had been a war. He lost his parents early. Depression and anxiety took over, later driving him to alcohol and drugs. The regrets began to pile up. Failed relationships. Crime and jail. The death of a son.

When I first visited Carl, he looked at me with suspicion. “Great, a religious guy,” he thought. “He’ll probably judge me up one side and down the other. No thanks. He’s not getting anything out of me.”

Instead I sat down and got to know him. I asked about his life. He threw some things at me to see how I would respond. When I didn’t blink, the walls of resistance started to crumble.

Soon Carl was hanging his head, talking about the ugly, dark places in his past.

“Thanks for not judging me,” he said, his voice trembling. “I don’t think I could’ve handled that.” He thought for a moment, then continued, “Somehow, through you just sitting there and listening, I can almost imagine God can love me - maybe even forgive me.”

Jesus said that whenever we judge others, we judge ourselves, for we are guilty of the same things. Who likes being judged? Why would we do that to other people?

Yet, we do.

We all need love and acceptance. Let’s give some today. Who knows what God might do? Some hearts might get cleaned out. Maybe even our own.

“Is it possible to get all that cleaned out?”

Yes.

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice

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