Sunday, January 5, 2014

Modeling Jesus behind bars

My friend Big Ben often speaks in the prison worship services. His testimony is a powerful one, in that he has been in prison 40 years, serving a life sentence on a first degree murder charge. But, he's no longer a fierce criminal. He's a kind, gentle spokesman for Christianity.

Instead of complaining about being sent to prison, Big Ben claims that incarceration was a life-changing event for him. It was behind bars that he found God.

In a recent letter to me, he described how he has been able to model the life of Jesus while in prison.

For example, he said, Jesus healed the blind. “I learned to transcribe English text into braille for the visually impaired...I have helped the blind to see a world with the use of braille wording.

“I have labored to feed the hungry, working as the head cook for five years in Marquette Branch Prison.

“I have clothed the naked, working in the prison industrial sector at a textile factory in Jackson, making T-shirts, shorts, socks, etc.

“I use my testimony to bear witness to God's glory, and how his presence in my life continues to strengthen me spiritually.”

A fine message, Big Ben. A sermon that could not be matched by that of an outside preacher.


1 comment:

Doug Tjapkes said...

Doug, this happened to my husband Otto too. I attended the video interview, the parole board member was rude, obnoxious and demeaning to both of us. It was the last interview my husband ever had; after that the board rubber stamped his every-5-year review as "NO INTEREST". Interesting that the board member resigned from the board TWO DAYS after his interview with Otto. The other men interviewed that day told Otto they had the same experience with him too. Those interviews SHOULD have been taped.