Recently, I began training (more school!) with the Texas State Department of Corrections as well as Prison Fellowship Ministries to qualify me to become a mentor to inmates. If there’s ever a place that needs encouragement and hope, it’s jail. When I began the training, I thought to myself, “This is a piece of cake!” That was just the first hour. As I progress in my training, I have come to realize why I signed up for the training . . . I’m here because I can relate to prisoners. You see, I have my own (unseen) bars that imprisoned me for decades.
We all make mistakes, some very public, some cloaked in secret, remaining hidden while destroying the very one who holds on to the secret. How do you become free? Whether your prison is seen or unseen, it all boils down to forgiveness of the mistakes made while coming to the full understanding of who we are in God’s eyes.
So what am I learning in school? To respect authority; to obey rules; to keep a commitment; to set boundaries; to witness first-hand the consequence of actions. But the most important lesson is the realization that whether you see prison bars or not, Jesus Christ does set the captives free.
“The spirit of the lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. he has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.” Luke 4:18