To the editor:

It was with great heartbreak and sadness that I read the events surrounding the arrest and trial of Shelly Trowbridge. Our family has known Shelly and her family for many years. Rocky Trowbridge is a good and decent man. We met Shelly in 1990 when she was a middle teenager at First Baptist Church of Lake Brownwood where I served as minister to youth. I remember Shelly as a beautiful and vivacious young lady with a great personality and tremendous life potential.

Over the past two years, we have become reacquainted with Shelly. We saw her in pain and sickness brought on by her addictions. I realize that the criminal justice system has a job to do — enforce the laws of the land and keep citizens safe. We affirm their God-given responsibility (Romans 13:1-7) Yet, for me, this entire affair demonstrates and exposes how poorly we as a nation, both church and government, have dealt with the incredible drug problem among our people. The fact that human beings are created in the image of God (Genesis 1) means that biblically, justice should involve a restorative and redemptive element. The answer to America’s (and Brownwood’s) drug problem must involve more than simply throwing people into the criminal justice system. Shelly needs and needed help just as an alcoholic needs help, and I see little objective difference between addiction to alcohol and methamphetamine. One is just as deadly as the other, although one is basically fashionable in American culture and one is considered the scourge of Satan. Both destroy lives, wreck families, cause death and disease, and wreak untold heartache. My understanding of the work of Jesus, however, is that He came to save and redeem that which was lost — precious human beings (Luke 19:10).

Research shows that faith-based treatment programs can be effective. Isn’t it time for discussion regarding the establishment of such a facility? The problem is already a huge reality and is growing worse every day. Is WWJD just a T-shirt or wristband slogan?

The greatest current and future threats to this nation are not from without, but from the spiritual and moral diseases that plague us from within. If the church is called to carry on the work of Christ, then we are called to heal, restore, minister, confront in love and bind the wounded (Matthew 25:31-46). I can be reached at don-texasmissions@verizon.net for comments or dialogue.

Don Fawcett

Brownwood