Does God love prisoners? Do we?

 Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.

Dalai Lama 

When Pastor Nate discussed our love for each other, and God’s love for us on Sunday, my thoughts immediately went to prisoners.

It’s important that we get reminders about saying “I love you” to family and friends. 

It’s important to be reminded that, no matter our failures and shortcomings, God loves us. 

But, when Jesus gives us instructions (not suggestions!) about love, things get sticky. I’m talking about 

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. 

It was troubling enough when Jesus explained to a questioner that, by “neighbor,” he wasn’t talking about the guy next door. He was saying that it’s up to us to behave like that Good Samaritan in his parable. 

But then he went on to say, “Love your enemies.” Could that possibly mean prisoners? Especially the ones who may have harmed me or my friends? The ones who continue to threaten and drink and terrorize in their environment behind bars? The ones who show no remorse? 

I admit that it has been quite easy to love some of the people in prison, especially people like my friend Maurice Carter, my friend Mark Hartman, and my friends in the women’s facility who were victims of brutal spouse abuse. 

The bigger problem comes when we think of gang-bangers, child molesters, those men and women who enjoy extorting the aging population. 

I think that first, we must try to understand that outrageous behavior. Father Greg Boyle helps us with that:“…it is the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear.” 

I think I know how God feels about Maurice and Mark, but what about these other thugs?

Dr. Romney Ruder, Postulate with the Anglican Church of North America and a prison chaplain, helps us work through that question.

In all their crimes, in all their baggage, in all their hurt, in all the pain they have caused, and in all their sin; He loves them. Just as He loves you and me. 

I’m proud to say that I also know how we do our best to treat all incarcerated persons in the office of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. Our Sarah quotes me as pointing out that, “HFP’s love reaches the darkest corner of the dankest cell.” 

Concluding with Father Boyle: 

“Divine love is incessantly restless until it turns all woundedness into health, all deformity into beauty and all embarrassment into laughter.” 

Amen and Amen!





It is true! Prisoners know when they have no one else they have zHFP. I know because at one point I was one of them.

Popular posts from this blog


Gregory John McCormick: 1964-2008

Three lives, connected by a divine thread