RE­LEASE THEM!

Pas­tor urges per­sons to ad­dress wrong­do­ers in the fam­ily

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Ce­celia Camp­bell Liv­ingston fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

Why didn’t I take their ad­vice? If I did, I would be liv­ing in style God knows I wasn’t born to be wild An’ now me gone a Up Park Camp Me neva waan go a Up Park Camp

– John Holt ‘Up Park Camp’

THE ES­CA­LA­TION of crime and crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties in the so­ci­ety has many calling for di­vine in­ter­ven­tion. But for oth­ers, the so­lu­tion lies in fam­ily mem­bers get­ting more in­volved with those who seek solace on the home front. How­ever, it is not an easy task to ask fam­ily mem­bers to break that bond by turn­ing their loved ones over to the ‘long arm of the law’.

Fam­ily and Re­li­gion reached out to Dr Meli­eth Don­ald Tom­lin­son, a trained psy­chol­o­gist and pas­tor at the Light­house As­sem­bly in Span­ish Town, St Catherine, who said that when it comes to fam­ily mem­bers, there would nat­u­rally be an at­tach­ment.

“Some­times, love doesn’t al­ways mean that what you are go­ing to do is go­ing to be easy,” she said. But at the end of the day, she said that the ‘big­ger pic­ture’ should be lo oked at.

“He could come out bet­ter or come to a point of re­al­is­ing that there are con­se­quences to his ac­tions. If it is you who want a turn­around, there are in­sti­tu­tions that per­sons can be placed in, de­pend­ing on the na­ture of the wrong­do­ing,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Tom­lin­son, not get­ting in­volved in their lives and turn­ing a blind eye to their wrong­do­ings can see their ac­tions be­com­ing worse and the ac­tiv­i­ties per­pet­u­at­ing.

“If a per­son is do­ing some­thing wrong, try to reach out. You can go to them. Even if you don’t turn them in, they can be killed. Reach out be­cause when there is evil around, it ex­poses ev­ery­one, whether you are fam­ily or not,” she said.

NEG­A­TIVE CON­NO­TA­TION

Tom­lin­son said, how­ever, that the sys­tem needs to be changed from the ‘turn in’ men­tal­ity as it puts a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion on reach­ing out to help.

“Be­cause we say we are turn­ing them in, it sounds neg­a­tive. Peo­ple look at it dif­fer­ently. We should find bet­ter ways to help than ‘turn­ing in’,” she pointed out.

Cit­ing many in­stances where crim­i­nals have served time in the pe­nal sys­tem, went through re­me­dial ac­tions and ac­tu­ally turned out bet­ter, mak­ing valu­able con­tri­bu­tions to the so­ci­ety, she said it is im­por­tant to put bet­ter care into reach­ing out.

Ac­cord­ing to her, most per­sons did not ‘wake up overnight’ and de­cide they wanted to be in­volved in crime.

“We need that win­dow to break through and re­di­rect that en­ergy. Some are an­gry at so­ci­ety, and it’s how we try to break that anger and let them know we love them,” she said.

In en­cour­ag­ing fam­ily mem­bers to do the right thing, she said they should ex­er­cise cau­tion.

Stress­ing her dis­agree­ment in ‘set­ting the fam­ily mem­ber up’, Tom­lin­son said what should be done in­stead is hav­ing a talk with them. If they are wanted by the law, then en­cour­age them to turn them­selves in.

“If you know they have a gun, you want to ex­er­cise cau­tion. The po­lice have their own re­spon­si­bil­ity. You are just do­ing your part as a fam­ily mem­ber. Some­times they just need to be man­aged,” she said.

In ap­proach­ing them, Tom­lin­son said it should be done with love. For her, you should share the con­se­quences of their re­fusal to put a stop to their wrong­do­ings, and if that per­son re­fuses, the next ac­tion will not be a sur­prise as they were warned.

With that bro­ken, it might prove a task to mend or be re­stored, but, for her, fam­ily mem­bers have to re­alise that the first per­son they have to live with is them­selves.

“So if you don’t help them to go in (to the po­lice) one way, they will go in an­other way,” she said.

Speak­ing as pas­tor, Tom­lin­son said the power of prayer should never be over­looked.

“A lot of lives have been trans­formed by per­sis­tent prayers. Be­lieve it or not, it still works,” she said.

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