Recognized as one of the most prominent emerging voices in personal and organizational transformation, Dr. Jason Brooks is also likely to be one of the most authentic, transparent and “real”. Viewed by many as the “youth pastor of personal growth and success”, his life mission of “bringing hope, healing, and inspiration to everyone he meets and leading on the journey for change, growth, and success” provides the foundation and focus where his purpose and passion are fully unleashed. As a bestselling author, inspirational speaker, and Chief People Officer of Vertava Health, Dr. Jason brings a heart for helping others to achieve their greatest potential and success…one step at a time. The Third Step…Freedom and Acceptance after Addiction “Sometimes I lay awake at night wondering ‘Will I ever truly be free and accepted again? Will I ever be free of the pain I’ve caused myself and others in the past? Will I ever be free of the addiction? I have done so much, will I ever be accepted by those I love again?” These questions posed by Joe pierced my heart. I could hear the pain in his voice and feel the almost sense of hopelessness that years of being a prisoner to alcoholism had created in his life. “Do you believe you can find freedom and acceptance?” I asked. “I don’t know. I mean, I hope so, but I don’t know if I can do enough to make up for all the hurt I’ve caused. Do you think it’s possible that I can do enough good to make up for all the bad…all the lies…all the cheating…all the deceit…all the selfishness and caring only about myself? “That’s one of the great things about Christ-focused treatment,” I said. “It’s not about making up for the past…there’s no way you can. But, instead, it’s about accepting forgiveness, the second step of Christian treatment, and then embracing the freedom and acceptance that’s yours through Christ.” “I don’t even know how that would work for if I even believe that’s possible,” Joe said. “Joe, let me tell you the story of a little man. This man was a very, very bad man. He was a chief tax collector living during the time Jesus was here. His name was Zacchaeus.” “Yea, I’ve heard of him. I used to sing the song when I was young in Sunday School. ‘Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see. And as the Savior passed that way, He looked up in the tree and said, “Zacchaeus, you come down, for I’m going to your house today, yes, I’m going to your house today.’” Joe laughed, remembering the fun times from his childhood. “Right on, buddy!” I said. “But here’s some things you may not know from the song. Zacchaeus was one of the worst of the worst. He was a Jew, but worked for the Roman government, collecting taxes from his people. He was corrupt, he stole from his people by collecting more taxes than what was owed, he was wealthy and his wealth came from cheating others. He was despised and rejected by everyone, not even allowed to worship in the synagogue with his people. By all accounts, that’s exactly what he deserved, because of his actions.” Joe looked puzzled. “This isn’t making me feel much better Dr. Jason.” “Well, the cool thing is not who Zacchaeus was, it was what Jesus did for Him. You see, Zacchaeus was miserable and alone. It says in scripture ‘There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way (Luke 19:2-4).’ What makes this verse so powerful is during this time in society, no self-respecting Jewish man would ever run or climb. Strange, I know, but it shows how passionate Zaccheaus was to connect with Jesus. In order to reach out to Jesus, He did the undignified. Zaccheaus had to climb over his pride, shame, and guilt to pursue Jesus.” “And what was Jesus response?” I continued. “Jesus said in verse 5 ‘When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. Zacchaeus!” he said.“Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”’ His response was pure joy. For his entire life, he had been rejected, first for his size, then for his occupation. He had hurt others, isolated and hurt himself. But, he had heard about Jesus and the acceptance He offered to anyone who would believe. That’s what Zacchaeus wanted…and that’s what he got. The crowd couldn’t outraged believe that Jesus would talk to such a notorious sinner…let alone go and spend the afternoon at his house. But, that’s just who Jesus is…He came for the hurting, the broken, and the lost to bring hope, healing, and freedom.” “So, what you’re saying is that the same freedom and acceptance Jesus gave to Zacchaeus, He can give to me?” Joe asked with reluctance and hesitation. “Absolutely!” I said. “But ultimately the choice is yours. Scripture says that anyone who seeks God will find Him. You don’t have to go far and He will come running to you. He loves you that much.” “But what about everyone else. What if they don’t accept me?” Joe asked. “They might not”, I said. “There are no guarantees. Ultimately there’s no way to control what other people do. But, we know that when we respond to Jesus, our nature tendency is irrational giving…not because we have to, but because we want to. He first gave so much to us, our only response is extravagant obedience. When you experience the freedom and acceptance of Jesus, you’ll be different. Zacchaeus was. Scripture says, ‘Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.’ (Luke 19:8-10).” “You had said ‘I don’t know if I can do enough to make up for all the hurt I’ve caused.’ In reality, Joe, it’s not for you to figure out. When Jesus is Lord of your life, he will prepare the hearts of those in your life and direct you in just the right show your love for them and bring reconciliation, freedom, and acceptance again. I wish I had all the answers, but I know God does, if you’ll only just let Him in and trust Him to work a miracle in your life.” “That’s exactly what I want,” Joe said with tears in his eyes. “I don’t want to feel alone anymore.” “I can help introduce you to a God and Savior who will never leave you or forsake you…and you will never be alone again, if that’s what you want,” I said. “More than anything…just like Zacchaeus…I’m willing to do whatever to finally connect with Jesus and experience love and acceptance.” “Awesome, Joe. Can we pray together?” “You bet!” Dr. Jason is an expert in leading life change. As a gifted speaker and life success coach, he is available to speak at your next conference event and would love to connect with you on social media on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Dr. Jason can be contacted through the public relations team at Vertava Health.
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