We can have a day full of variety and fun, constant involvement and chasing around, seemingly healthy inter actions … which are hollow and probably not what we need. We all know that children don’t switch off and we find ourselves have our only meaningful conversation through shouting or crying or crashing of toys. Your spouse comes home, the children are finally settled (!?) and you can talk. How was your day? and it’s time for bed.
Nothing really was said, we can’t get to have a sensible conversation about what really matters.Anyone who has been on the inside of a prison or institution will tell you that, unless you have the opportunity to have a one-to-one with the inmate you learn very little or can never get to the detail. Everyone in the group is directed to someone else’s issue or the bad news they heard that day. As much as we try to speak into that one issue, there are suddenly 5 more which get thrown in. The only resolution is face to face contact. Let them know that you are sincere, let them know that you will be really listening, let them know that you are sincere.It is an old illustration but it is one that strikes a chord of agreement. A lady met 2 U.S. Presidents.
There was, obviously, a lot of hustle and bustle about the 2 men but she was able to talk to each one about her situation. She was asked later how the meetings had gone.
She was clear - “i have just met the most important person in the world” about the first President. “but, I have just felt like I am the most important person in the world” about the 2nd President.
True story. That is the same with inmates. They have no-one to hear their stuff relating to when they get out, how their children either are doing at school or that they don’t talk to them, if their wives are faithful, how the guards have treated them. We can say ‘Suck it up, buttercup!’ you got yourself in here, that’s what it is! That is not the way to handle their needs. On a lighter note, you will find that there are more part time lawyers, judges, police, general know-it-alls in jail then anywhere else. There is very little good, healthy advice unless you really do find a positive inmate who will help your situation or will speak Godly advice into their problem. Coupled with that, what if it’s your first time and a gang member tries to entice you in or the problems on the outside start becoming too difficult to handle?
I have lost count of the amount of parents, aunts, single mothers who have contacted me about their prayers for someone to get along side their son or daughter to give them good direction. I know many Christian parents who send their children off to College or University praying that their room mates will be believers.
Please don’t under estimate the damage that is done when an inmate isolates themselves inside. Their choices are real - don’t separate yourself from healthy contact, make sure that you don’t befriend an inmate who has more problems that you have or one that is abusing the system. Again, how may times I have seen, mostly, innocent bystanders becoming entangled, guilty by association, isolated by the institute for having some involvement with the guilty parties.
Please pray that those who are attempting to serve their time with a positive, open heart - one who desires to build on the inside in order that they can progress on the outside. That they can learn their lessons, come to know the truth about a loving relationship with Jesus and re-build their lives and their families’ lives back in society.
Ever know a time when you just wanted someone to talk to?