God Sees Beyond Our Right Now...
When life isn’t exactly how we pictured it would be...
Facing seasons of disappointment and despair can leave us feeling isolated and alone.
Encouraging and inspiring our incarcerated can be a daunting lifestyle, but they deserve an outpouring of God's Great Love.
Meeting our prisoners right where they're at, determined not to leave them shackled in shame and guilt, surrounded by nothing but criminal conduct, is a priceless gift of Love.
It’s challenging to understand that during these grave times, being in a pit of hell, there are others in similar situations who have gone before us...
When you’re considered “incorrigible,” a "burden" or “a menace to society,” impervious to restraints and punishment, it's hard to react/respond against this branding, this labeling, cauterized deep into one's soul and flesh.
And we are, after all, a byproduct of our environment...
Discouragement leads to death and destruction. Being near the edge of the pit serves as a constant reminder that its edges of hell will swallow and take down those who dare come close.
Our incarcerated can only see and hear what’s inside their prison walls. They're a number, not a person. It's dark and it's dangerous. It's not filled with life and/or rehabilitation. It's filled with segregated gangs; your color and ethnicity matters because that pre-determines your space, affiliation and housing and HIGHLY INFLUENCES what you learn and become.
But our Beautiful Jesus resides inside prisons and He reminds us through awareness that re-offenders lack relationships.
What would your faith look like if God said to you what He specifically spoke to my heart, There's an amazing door of opportunity standing wide open for you [me] to minister here, even though there are many who oppose and stand against [you] me (1 Corinthians 16:9 TPT)?
Truly, God spoke those very words to my heart.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
As Christians, we are commanded to stand with the oppressed and fight injustice. What kind of Christians are we; ones with selective obedience accommodating our facades or are we, as a community, going to start loving more and rebuking division and strife like we're commanded?
It's not about us! Relationships matter. Re-offenders lack relationships!
Addressing our high recidivism rates requires programming and services essential to decrease the re-offender rates and foster successful community reentry. Reducing recidivism will benefit both our offenders and our communities.
When I personally think of despair and discouragement, I am reminded of Joseph in the Bible who had ample reason to be discouraged and knew what longstanding imprisonment offered.
Joseph endured the death of his mother, along with the conspiracy and jealous hatred from his brothers.
Can you imagine the gut-punching torturous blow in being cast into a pit and then sold into slavery?
That's unfathomable sibling rivalry.
Then to face imprisonment due to false accusations, OMG!!!
I don’t know about you, but my abandonment issues seem rather inconsequential.
Being molded by pain along with having a personal, intimate knowledge and relationship with God, allows us to survive and prosper where most would fail.
Being betrayed and deserted by family undoubtedly leaves deep emotional wounds that only God could graciously heal. Add in a long incarceration, being punished for doing what’s right, Joseph was even forgotten by those he helped.
But God doesn't forget because He resides inside our prisons and knows what is on the other side of our circumstances.
Joseph's life is one of God’s most powerful and miraculous stories of what redemption offers. Even saving his offensive family during the famine.
My heart of hearts believes that our beautiful Jesus wants to transform our deep losses and grave disappointments the same way He did for Joseph. God can and will make a way.
I don’t know about you, but I have decided to be a “Doer” of the Word and not just a “Hearer” that James 1:22 talks about.
Blameless and Forever Free Ministries believes God allows crises or shows us problems so we can be part of the solution.
Relevant truth for today: Where we are RIGHT NOW is not our final destination, nor is it for our incarcerated.
Looking through the lens of God’s Great Love, we are able to believe that what lies ahead on the other side of our circumstances is greater strength and victory.
One bad circumstance leading to reintegration.
No story is beyond redemption.
We can’t overcome what we don’t confront.
Living for a cause greater than myself reminds me to maintain the rights of the oppressed that Psalm 82:3–4 expresses. This passion was birthed by a personal crisis which led to a bigger cause.
We need to prioritize what matters. It’s not so much about the events or the many circumstances of life, but our response to them. Our incarcerated haven’t responded appropriately and when they get out of prison after serving time for their crime, they will repeat if we do not intervene and start rehabilitating them while incarcerated.
The most important thing I pray our hearts remember, once our returning citizens are back into society, we need to be prepared to disciple them, encourage them and surround them with love while walking alongside of them. Being prepared to help, not discriminate, will ensure safer communities and society assets.
Until next time...