A couple of days ago I stood in a room with about 30 inmates. Some had smiles on their faces. Others looked like they were still trying to wake up. Others had a “100 yard stare” that seemed to ask “How did I get here?” All of them had Bibles in their hands. They were hungry for…something. By the time we were done praying, talking, laughing, and studying the Bible together, 8 of those men decided to say “Yes” to Jesus for the first time.
Some judge these men as trouble-makers getting what they deserve. Others judge their participation in church as empty jailhouse religion.
It’s not my place to make those judgements.
All I know is that one of the most life-giving things I get to do is speak hope to a bunch of men in a hopeless place. I get in their faces. We keep it all the way real. These men are fully aware of their mistakes and the last thing they need from me is more condemnation. So instead, I challenge them to be men of God, men of character, and servant leaders. I wish you could see them light up. I wish you could see the “lightbulb” coming on when they “get it.” I wish you could see the power of hope.
Give to the poor. Feed the hungry. While you are doing all of those great things, remember the prisoner.
“I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” – Matthew 25:36