Letter to John

Dear Jim:

Your last letter made me happy and sad at the same time. I’m happy that you’re willing to write about your experiences and about what you’re thinking. But it makes me sad, a bit angry, and sick at heart to hear about some of your friends who have started to smoke “pot”.

I gather that you were shocked to learn that not all the kids who smoke marijuana can be classified as the campus “bums”. Well, you’re not alone in that feeling, Jim. There are also many parents who associate the use of drugs with long hair, bare feet, and hippie dress. And, because they have provided their children with good homes, trained their children to be neat and clean, educated their children in Christian schools, and heard their children make public profession of faith, they just cannot imagine their sons or daughters smoking “grass” or using any other kind of drug.

It’s been demonstrated again and again, however, that the use of drugs is not limited to one particular social class, but is to be found in every part of our society. This unavoidable fact has raised the question as to why increasing numbers of young people are turning to drugs. All kinds of reasons are being given, such as the example of pill-taking parents, experimentation, anxiety, desire to identify with the group, longing for greater perception, etc. It seems to me, however, that there is only one word which describes why kids are looking for “kicks” in drugs and that is the word “alienation”. They feel alienated and cut-off from their parents, their school, their government, their church, their society, their peers, and, in many cases, they feel alienated from themselves. And, feeling alienated, they seek to escape into the supposedly wonderful world which is brought about by the use of drugs.

The usual reaction to the “drug problem” is to look upon it from a psychological point of view. And I certainly would be the last to deny that there is a psychological aspect to the need or desire for drugs. But, more than that, the “drug problem” is a deeply religious problem which is caused by alienation from God. Now I know that I may be accused of being simplistic when I write this. After all, what problem isn’t due to alienation from God? But it seems to me that this is especially obvious in the case of those who are turning to and being turned on by drugs. This means, of course, that the only answer is to try to lead these kids to God, through Jesus Christ, which is the only place where they can find the love and forgiveness which they and all of us need so very much. At the same time they have to be shown that only in Christ and His Word can they find a foundation and a perspective in terms of which they can relate meaningfully to themselves, others, and their world.

You’re right, Jim, when you say that drug abuse is a frightening things which should greatly concern all of us. While recognizing the dangers involved in the use of other drugs, many claim that marijuana is a purely harmless, non-addictive drug and that steps should be taken to legalize its use. However, The Denver Post of March 17 states that marijuana “gives a feeling of great perceptiveness and pleasure but can produce erratic behavior, loss of memory, dismay feel exhilarated or relaxed, stare into space or have an exaggerated sense of ability.” That doesn’t sound so harmless, does it? Further, authorities on drugs say that marijuana is psychologically addictive to many young people, and that there are very few people using heroine today who did not begin their misuse of drugs by smoking pot.”

Therefore, I thank God, Jim, that this problem troubles you. I assume this means that, while you’re going to try to understand these kids, you’re not going to cover up or make excuses for them. Instead, do everything you can to get them to go to someone (bring them, if necessary) who can really help them, such as a pastor, teacher, or doctor. Right now their parents are probably the last people they want to talk to. When I say “really help them” you know what I mean, don’t you?

I pray daily that you will stay close to Him, Jim.


Rev. Hulst