Reach out to those in need!

PRISONERI had a unique experience a few weekends ago as I traveled with a group of college students to minister at a half-way house for men who recently were released from prison. The men who come to this place must stay for a year, learning day by day how to integrate back in to society. One of the prerequisites for being there is that they have to be born again Christians, so they are all open and willing to share about their new lives in Christ as compared to how they were before going to prison. They do Bible study together and get jobs and work like all good citizens of society. The group that I went with just went to do some service work, cleaning and repair work. As we cleaned and worked we were able to interact with the men there, getting to know them and hearing their stories. As I talked with person after person I began to see a pattern in their lives. Each one was abused in some way as a child, mostly sexually. This abuse profoundly affected them every day of their lives before becoming born again Christians. As they grew older and began to get in trouble with the law things just got worse. Each man said the same thing, “I knew what I was doing was wrong but I had no where to turn for help since everybody around me was also bad.” One young man who was a drug runner said that he was so relieved when he was caught because he knew that in a way he was set free from running the drugs, even though he had to face jail. I was surprised to hear that until I heard the same thing from the rest of them. They all wanted out but had no place to turn. What really hurt me the most was the fact that they all had children from illicit sexual relationships. The reason that they had these relationships is because sex was not special to them since they were abused earlier in their lives. Many times they had wives and former lovers who did not want to have anything to do with them and sometimes even children that they had seen only once if at all.

I began to reflect on the conversations a few days later and I started putting the pieces together, like a puzzle. If these men had not been abused at an early age then they probably would not have had such a low view of sex, many said that they saw women as objects of pleasure and that was all. Also, since they were abused, they were constantly in the presence of bad people, either by choice or subconscious actions. Being in the presence of evil all the time had a huge impact upon them, to the point that even when they wanted out, wanted to change, they had nowhere to turn. My thought was, “where were their classmates who were Christians? Why were they not reaching out to help?” I know these men were in bad home situations and hung out with the wrong crowd but they all said that they were wishing, hoping for help and if someone would have been there to offer it I sure that it would have been accepted. That is why it is so important that Christians take an active approach to helping others, seeking out others who are in need. Jesus tells all of His followers to “make disciples” by going and teaching them the Word. He also calls His followers the light of the world. The neat thing about light is that it is both repulsive and attractive at the same time. Turn on a light in a dark room and watch the cockroaches run away from it. Leave the light on and watch the flying insects flock to it. When a Christian is shining, of course there will be some who see it as being repulsive but those who are looking for help, light at the end of the tunnel, will flock to the light and receive all that they have ever search for and more.

The stories of these men are classic examples of the dangers of immorality and the need for people to stand up and stop it from spreading and destroying more lives. I realized that the victims of this terrible sin were not men who made bad decisions, that was a later result. The victims were innocent children. These men were abused as children and basically scarred for life. Of course, that does not give them an excuse for the crimes that they committed, but maybe they could have avoided that path all together. The men who shared their stories are prime examples of the dangers of immorality. Immorality rears its head in many forms but they all have the same results. Those who promote homosexuality need to sit down and talk with some of the men to whom I spoke and maybe they would reconsider promoting something as immoral as homosexuality, destroying innocent children’s lives for pleasure’s sake. Immorality is also highly promoted by those who participated in the sexual revolution of the 60’s and their followers of today. Those who think cohabitating is o.k. and teach others the same need to see what cohabitating really brings, nothing but misery and broken lives, both for men and women and the poor, innocent children they have as well. Again, where are the Christians, the ones whom Christ says are to be salt? As you know salt stops decay and immorality is causing tremendous decay in our society today so there is a huge need for both light and salt from the followers of Jesus Christ. What about you, are you having a positive impact on the people around you? Are you aware of the needs of those around you? Do you see and feel their pain enough to want to help? If you are a Christian then someone has invested in your life so what keeps you from doing the same for others? If you have never done a service project or something that has put you in contact with ex-convicts then I would challenge you to do something that will put you face to face with them so that you can hear their stories, see the dangers of sin, and have a desire to stop it from spreading in society.

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