I just got off the phone with my son, Eric. If you've read my blog you know him, he's been in jail for the last couple of years. Several times each week Eric gets the opportunity to call home and visit with us. Today when he called I noticed that the time was around 8pm. He's never called at 8pm. Usually he either calls at 7pm or 9pm. Routines are very regular in jail, so I asked him what happened? He shared with me that a man from a local church came out to visit as they often do, and when this happens it can throw off the break times they get allowing them to take a shower and or make phone calls.
We got to talking about the folks that come in to preach, and as much as Eric appreciates those that come, sometimes it seems they are just yelling the gospel message and it makes him feel like they are being talked down to. His words... "We feel like Monkey's in a cage." He said, "Monkeys don't want to be yelled at, I wish they would stop yelling at the Monkeys."
Eric really enjoys praise music, and he thinks that if I would come out and play for the guys they would really enjoy it. A hammered dulcimer is certainly a unique musical instrument that most folks either haven't seen played or didn't know what they were listening to when they heard it on a recording. I've been very hesitant about going out to the jail to witness, even though I have done it several times in the past at the Pikeville Men's Correctional facility in Pikeville TN. The men at the prison really seemed to enjoy the uniqueness of the dulcimer and the message as well. But now my son's in this place. Maybe, just maybe that's why I need to go. I mean, at least I'm not going to holler and yell at the guys. After all, I can understand, at least a little bit, what those guys are going through in there. Sure they made mistakes and this jail time is the consequence for those mistakes, but just because they're in jail doesn't mean we should love them any less. I know Jesus doesn't, and that's the message isn't it? No matter what we've done, Jesus loves us. As a society, we have rules and laws to live by. We break them, we pay the price. As a society we have a real hard time with forgiveness of those that have paid that price, don't we? I just want to tell the guys..., just because those of us on the outside of these walls have a hard time with forgiveness... Jesus is all about forgiveness. Depending on the severity of your crime, our society may never forgive you. But Jesus will! Praise the Lord! Heaven's the only place I know of where we are all the same. Our past, is our past. It's over, and the sins of this world are no more. Jesus paid the price for you and I to live with him forever. When we realize this, I mean truly realize this... We can handle anything and overcome anything through Christ strength because we know all this is only temporary. This time, is only a moment in time, that is really insignificant compared to the rest of eternity with Christ.
15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I think the guys need to hear this message. I think the guys can do with a little compassion and love for a change. Isn't it Jesus' Love that softens the heart of man? It does mine.
I sit here and try to imagine Jesus in the flesh, walking into the jail to speak to these men. Would he begin with yelling and hollering to get their attention? I like to think he'd probably walk up to one of those guys and hug him and tell him... I love you. The man's heart would melt like butter, because love is what he needs and we know there is no greater love, than that of Jesus. Maybe Jesus wants to touch these men through me? May I be so bold as to think this? In the name of Jesus... the answer to that question is YES. We all should be so bold in Christ!
Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself.
36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Pray for me as I know God will work this out if it's meant to be. Who knows what God will do in that jail. Paul helped to turn many to Christ in jail through the power of Christ and it's no different today. Isn't it wonderful that the walls that keep people locked inside can't keep the Holy Spirit out?
Prayer; Dear Lord Jesus, please Lord, show me the way. If this be your will then allow the doors to open and I commit to doing whatever it is you want me to do, to help bring your message of love to these men. You open the door, I'll walk through. I'd like to introduce the guys to my Lord. Thank you for your love and forgiveness of sin. I pray these things in the precious name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.