All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Someone behind bars is laughing at us!

I hate to tell you this, but it’s true.  Prisoners are laughing at us!

I’ll tell you why.

Many of us are in a panic these days.  We’re afraid of what might happen to our country when the new president takes over.  After all, issues like a nuclear arms race, foreign relations, gun control, immigration, and global warming---just to name a few---aren’t insignificant.  We may have had similar concerns in the past, but we always trusted in experienced leaders and the checks and balance system to help our nation wade through these matters.  But suddenly there’s a new uncertainty in the air, as someone of questionable experience and integrity takes the helm.  Yes indeed, lots of people feel like they’ve completely lost control.

And that makes prisoners chuckle, because they’ve felt that way for years, but nobody paid any attention to their plight.  Now the shoe is on the other foot.

Some inmates lost control the minute their situation fell into the hands of a flawed judicial system.  A couple of examples.

A low-paid and uncaring court-appointed lawyer persuaded his client to plead guilty to a lesser charge to avoid a long sentence, when the guy didn’t do anything wrong in the first place.  He had no prior criminal history!

A comfortable and happy grand-dad thought life was pretty good until his estranged daughter-in-law decided to get even with the family, and claimed that grandpa was messing with her little girls.  He’s been in prison ever since then!

And once in prison, there is no such thing as personal control.

You’re told when to eat, exercise, pee, work, sleep.  Your life, your daily activity, almost everything is in the hands of others. 

Some inmates will tell you that the system would even like to control your thoughts and emotions, and that’s when one has to be strong.

Do you get my point?

The things that you and I take for granted on a daily basis have been deleted from the lives of people caught in the judicial system and spending time behind bars.  Prisoners will tell you that it’s like living the life of a zombie. 

I go back to a sermon my friend Nate preached early on in the election campaign.  He assured us that no matter who won the election, no matter what kind of people take office, no matter what you fear they might do, NOTHING will interfere with or interrupt God’s plan!

I need to hear that now, more than ever.  And in my relationship with inmates, it’s imperative that I communicate that message to them as well.

Quoting from one of my favorite Psalms:  You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power. Your knowledge of me is too deep; it is beyond my understanding."

May quiet assurance replace laughter. 

On both sides of the bars.

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