When we get into trouble, it can be as clear as anything that we didn’t do anything or say anything wrong, so how come that we wound up where we are now? The Bible tells us that it is better to be criticized for doing good than doing evil.
One of the things that Jesus NEVER said was “How did I get here? What did I do wrong?” We can call it destiny, we can call it fate - if you are so minded. Whatever it is clearly it has come through your actions of the previous or immediate past. Did we sow good seeds? Ask a farmer if he knew that the reason the harvest was bad was due to poor seed or he didn’t prepare the land. You won’t be surprised at the answer.
The focus this week is how frustration can lead us down the wrong road, to pathways that have no end and no future. If we have seen the riots - did I say RIOTS - yes, that could be more than one but the truth is that they are taking place everyday, in all 4 corners of the earth, to every language, every sect, every people group, your neighbour, your loved one - it seems everyday that the news reports another.
What seems to be the cause? Well, the G8 or G20 always seems to throw up the worst activity. We saw that recently in Hamburg, Germany. Last week, 100,000+ Turks walked on the capital city to voice their disagreement with the Government. How many sections of disagreement have arisen since Donald Trump became President of the United States?
These are all the result of a heightened state of frustrations - with the system, with those in power, with no-one in particular but the individual’s own situation has worsened and it must be someone's fault, because it isn’t MINE! Sound familiar?
The inmate or the offender seems to be in a constant phase of frustration and there can be occasions when it is everyone else’s fault. There have been numerous times when I have been in the Correctional facility and a loudspeaker voice announces a violation between and inmate and a guard. We are in lockdown either in a specific block or it’s time to leave because it has an effect on the whole facility. I don’t tend to investigate what took place but some well meaning inmate will always tell me the root of the problem.
I can honestly say that there will be times when the institution will undoubtedly be contributory. However, it seems that the inmate has been denied a pass or had something confiscated or was plain and simply at fault. It will cause tensions that sometimes don’t heal very quickly. Time to get over it and start to resolve in the inmate’s mind that he should serve his time and keep his head down. This principle is not scientific but I offer it as a result of 12+ years of correction visitation -
10% of the issues are through the very quiet, insular inmate who struggles to communicate well,
10% relate to very emotional, loud individuals who let everyone know what their issue is.
The final 80% are everyday relationships with inmates who have learned to chill and get through their ordeal in as polite and friendly manner to maintain the status quo.
Sure, it may sound general but the point is made. I don’t think that it is any different OUTSIDE of the system! I have found that the Bible has the answer for virtually every situation that we face. The ones that you are unable to find an answer for, ask our Heavenly Father. James tells us in Chapter 1 that if we lack wisdom then ask. Wisdom will get us through most problems because it allows us to release pressure BEFORE we get into difficulties.
What is even more relevant is that James also tells us where our frustrations come from in the first place. Check out the first 3 verses of Chapter 4 - in summary, He tells us that the issues come from inside ourselves. We war against ourselves through our personal grievances, our own desires. None so more than the offender… the time has come to stop and reconcile yourself to the circumstances you are in.
This final phrase covers everyone of us - Don’t take the negative stuff you gather into your next stage of life. It will take more effort to resolve it the next time. That is how frustrations develop.