Prison Diaries – Overwhelming Love

1 Cor 13

“There is a love so deep man has never explored but in this season the Father will begin to teach us how to love the unlovely and those who betray us. We will learn how to love back to life those who are dying by natural and spiritual deaths.” Bob and Bonnie Jones

I believe this to be the start of me writing about my experiences with prisons and inmates. I will tell you now that I do not like the term: “Inmate”, because I feel they are people too and the term too easily removes them from being human like us, so I will use the term Prisoners. We’ve all been one at one time spiritually, which levels the playing field.

Question: Why is it easier for me to shake hands and truly feel at ease and feel love for people in prison than for brothers and sisters in the church?

I believe the ease comes with the purpose for my life, which I will delve into in future posts.

In walking into prison visiting rooms, through the gates, past the guards, through the metal detection and shoe checks, I have never felt scared. There was only one man in 27 yrs I can say I was honestly scared of, the evil radiated out of his eyes, and thankfully he stayed across the room. I have felt sorrow for those who have to live there, and often wonder at how in the world I would make it in a place like that.

But for those of you, who have yet to meet a prisoner, let me tell you there is realness with these men that I don’t find much out here. I’ve shaken hands with them and been more at ease with them than I’ve been around people in church. There is no pretense, no good-looking façade, just “who you see is who you get”.  (I’m not saying all church goers aren’t real – please don’t read into it)

The guys have always been shocked and deeply moved that I’d shake their hands like they are a regular person, a simple handshake. They would actually feel awkward at the gesture, but would not stop mentioning it for weeks to come because it impressed their heart so greatly. They were overwhelmed by LOVE, because they are told they are animals, no good, a wasted human life…most of them have lost their families because the family just drops all connection.

A rich man in prison is a man with a family, someone to write letters to them, and care what happens to them.

It is heartbreaking, a young man locked up, and his family stops accepting his calls. He kept calling just so he could talk to an operator.  Out of despair, out of losing the love of his family, he hung himself. If only there’d been love!

Matthew 25:40
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

No matter what, we are called to love. What people have done in their life is not an issue. I am the chief of sinners, I say as Paul said. I know what I’ve been in this life and I know God loved me then just as He loves me now. Jesus didn’t give us a list of conditions by which to love people, He just said to LOVE!

Praise God, Jesus, our example, loved the men that nailed Him to the cross, He loved the men who spit on Him as He hung there, and He loves us all today. Jesus is our example, and He has mighty big shoes to fill!

“Choose to love all mankind no matter what their sin. Just love them! You cannot stray from the Cross. It is the final crucifying of the flesh. Love God, love yourself and love your brother.” From the Lord, through Bob and Bonnie Jones
Answer: It’s time to crucify the flesh and love all men, inside and outside the church.

It doesn’t take much for a prisoner to feel loved, but it means everything.  To get involved in a prison outreach, check your churches for a KAIROS ministry, or the online KAIROS International website. Also, there are local Prison Book projects.

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