Happy Elevated Friday! Today we highlight a new measure one town has taken to curb the spread and devastation of the drug overdoses through compassion instead of prosecution. In Huntington, WV, drug overdoses have climbed for years. But in 2014, after seeing a record high number, the town enacted a new policy of compassion for addicts. Through the use of Quick Response Teams (QRTs), a rotating group of paramedics, mental health specialists, and police officers, the town has created an environment where addicts feel cared for and concerned about rather than swept aside. The QRT’s role is to check up on addicts and troubled patients within 72 hours of an overdose in an effort to express concern, show compassion, and help them make a life change. The results have been tremendous – overdoses were cut in half in less than one year. The program has been so successful that the state of West Virginia recently passed a bipartisan bill to adopt it as a four-year pilot program. It is an encouraging step towards a better future for many, but also shows the power of a little bit of compassion for our fellow man.
Jesus is many things but one thing he was especially known for during the days he walked the earth was his compassion. Crowds would flock to him and the sick, downtrodden, and outcast would routinely fling themselves at his feet in order ask for compassion from him. But Jesus had compassion for more than just the obviously sick and hurting people of the world – he had compassion for everyone. He knew that all mankind hides scars, pain, and suffering to different degrees because that is simply part of being alive! In Mark, it says of Jesus, “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.” We may not all show our scars as openly as others, but Jesus knows where each one is located. He cares; so should we. Today, remember that everyone you meet has troubles just like you, and be kind to them. Show compassion just as Jesus did.
“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.” – Mark 6:34 ESV