All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Matthew 25 refresher course for the Douger

It may not be the blind leading the blind, but at best it’s one crooked stick trying to help a bunch of other crooked sticks.

God uses every prison experience to teach me another lesson.

Even though I refuse to admit it, I suspect that down deep I harbor a certain smugness when I walk through the prison gates. The inmates will welcome me, they’ll applaud when they hear that I’m nearly 81 and still carrying on, and they’ll listen politely as I impart my wisdom and explain the fine work of HFP.

Well, the first parts are true. Last Saturday I received a warm welcome from nearly 200 men at the Thumb Correctional Facility. How nice to renew an old friendship! And I think they were pleased to hear that this old man is still plugging along.

But then my learning began.

I thought I had clearly explained that, even though I am a follower of Jesus, we’ll help any inmate with any problem. I am not a US citizen…I’m from Turkey. All I want is to serve my time in my homeland. But I’m not a Christian. Will you still help?  My heart sinks to think that our message did not get through. Of course we’ll help.

I boasted that, while some agencies procrastinate, delay their responses, or don’t call back at all, HFP treats every request in a prompt manner. My ex-wife contacted you about two months ago, and you informed her that would write me on JPay. I have not yet received an email message from you. Gulp. (He was contacted the next day!)

I’m wrongly convicted but the Innocence Project turned me down. Where do I go now? I have no answer.

If the Parole Board won’t tell you what they expect in commutation applications, how do we know our answers are what they want to hear? I have no answer.

What can you do about unfair sentences in Michigan?  No answer.

I’m starting to feel inadequate. We’re not doing all that much good. We’re not providing all that much assistance. We don’t have the information they want and need.

Yet they stand in line to shake hands and say “thank you.” And a young black Christian, with glowing face, smilingly comments, “I’m a man of God, and I recognize when someone is obeying Scripture and ‘speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.’” (Prov.31:8)

There’s my lesson: a review of Matthew 25. It was the visit that counted. Duh! Any assistance or helpful information imparted was simply a bonus.

Says Father Greg Boyle: There is no 'them' and 'us.' There is only us.

Says Mother Teresa:  We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.

No comments: