by Kathleen Keith-Gillon
The telephone shrilled. Our caller was a man asking for a counselling for his wife, Paula. On the day they arrived, he insisted on staying with her for the appointment. Later he explained, ‘I wanted to hear what you would tell her. Everyone who counsels her tells her to leave me.’ That day Paula told her story: she was a heavy vehicle driver with a strong temperament and a fighting spirit. Their marriage was a battle ground; when they fought, as they did frequently, they used knives.
Solomon was a young man brought up in a Christian home. Wayward and rebellious, he had begun trafficking women, drugs and firearms between Colombia and Europe. He lived a Jekyll and Hyde lifestyle. Were the church elders aware that during the closing hymn after the Lord’s Supper he would slip out and snort cocaine? No! Did the members of his weekly Bible study for Spanish-speaking people in Germany know he was a drug trafficker? No! Solomon was far away from God, but God had not abandoned His prodigal son.
Life & Death
While in Germany, one of Solomon’s drug couriers landed in hospital with a stomach full of drugs. The wrapping had burst and his life was in danger. There was a strong possibility that he would reveal Solomon to the authorities before he died. Taking one of his guns, Solomon slipped out of the security of his luxurious apartment. Deep in the forest behind the village, he knelt down and put the gun to his head. In that split second between life and death he felt two strong arms grab him from behind and stand him up. Trembling, he forced himself to look around. There was no one else there.
In a cold sweat he decided to hand himself in to the village police station. To his amazement, no charges had been laid against him, the ‘mule’ had not died. Solomon wasted no time; in a matter of hours he was on a plane back to Colombia.
Solomon arrived at our home when our counselling ministry was just beginning. We had no track record, no success stories, nothing but the assurance that this was the path God was asking us to take: to walk alongside bound and broken people.
All this was new to us. The long process of walking alongside this brokenhearted, captive, bound couple was about to begin. Solomon had a clearly defined identity. He knew who he was: drug lord, criminal, cocaine addict.
…this was the path God was asking us to take: to walk alongside bound and broken people.
God’s Truth versus Human Truth
In my book It’s All About Him, I think the most important chapter is the one entitled ‘God’s Truth versus Human Truth’.1 This is precisely what we began to teach Solomon. It was not easy because everywhere he looked, human truth was staring him in the face. The more he concentrated on the truth of his sin, the more bound he became. John 8:32 reads: ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ The truth Solomon believed about himself was not setting him free. Something was dreadfully wrong. He needed a new identity. His mind needed to be renewed. It was slow work because human truth was firmly entrenched in his mind. His new identity sounded strange to his ears and proved even more strange to his mind.
There is an enormous difference between God’s Truth and human truth. As we learn to declare God’s Truth over our particular situation, the intense light of the Word of God shines into the darkness and reveals the lies we have believed. It is what God says about the situation that counts. What He says is what it is. It is not what we think about ourselves, but what God’s Word says about us; it is not what we feel about ourselves, but what God’s Word declares we are; it is not what we see with our human eyes, but what God’s Word shows us that counts.
A New Creation
Solomon had difficulty in believing that in Christ, he was who God said he was: redeemed, justified, righteous, chosen, a citizen of heaven, holy, loved, forgiven, a new creature. His new identity was to him unbelievable, too good to be true. Slowly, very slowly, he started to believe. And as he believed, his behaviour and lifestyle changed.
Solomon and Paula’s marriage had twisted itself into a vicious circle. They would have a terrible fight and she would take the children and go to her parents’ place in another town. He would wait for her telephone call. ‘I miss you. Please come for me?’ He would go and fetch her. One day his response to her call took her by surprise. ‘I am not coming for you. You went on your own, you can come back on your own.’
Alone, Solomon had time to think about his new identity and to finally believe it. He was what God said he was – free! ‘If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed’ (Jn 8:36).
As we learn to declare God’s Truth over our particular situation, the intense light of the Word of God shines into the darkness…
One day something happened that Solomon found hard to explain. He was alone in his bakery. Foul language spewed from his mouth. He swore, blasphemed, spat on the ground. It was as though the power of evil rose to a crescendo before it suddenly lost its hold over him. God’s Truth had triumphed over human truth. That day, cocaine lost its power over him.
A highlight for Solomon in his restoration process was meeting and sharing his testimony with an author, whose writings did much to confirm his new identity. The emphasis on the Christian’s identity in Christ in his books had been a big help to Solomon and to us too, as we walked for the first time alongside someone whom everyone had deemed a ‘hopeless case’.
On one occasion when our unusual ministry was being questioned, Solomon’s restoration process came into the conversation. Was he genuine? We give God all the glory and the honour. Solomon has persevered in his new-found freedom; he continues to believe who he is in Christ.
Free to Serve Others
Today Solomon walks alongside people who are stumbling in the world of darkness, bound by the chains of drug addiction, who struggle with alcoholism and suffer emotional difficulties. He is never happier than when he is called on to travel to other places. Recently, he was asked by the elders of a church five hours away to counsel one of their members. Leaving his mini-supermarket in the hands of a capable person, he gladly set out with a ‘Timothy’. The elders encourage him to take another brother with him on these trips; in this way he is training others to counsel people who are considered as ‘hopeless cases’ by their fellow brethren. Solomon shows them from the Scriptures who they are in Christ; he explains their new identity and shares his testimony. He teaches them to believe God’s Truth about their situation and about themselves.
Solomon was the first of many bound captives, who over the years have come to us in their search for freedom. They find it through believing God’s Truth about themselves and their situations. There is no weapon more powerful than God’s Truth and no strategy in spiritual warfare more effective than believing it.
1. Keith-Gillon, K., It’s All About Him, 2017.
- for Solomon as he reaches out to others, and for his family
- for Anita and Kathleen as they counsel those who are struggling
- for people to be set free by God’s Truth
- for the spread of the gospel in Colombia.