“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Light Shining in Dark Places
(Please read Matthew 25:34-40)
It is unfortunate that one of the fast-growing occupations in our time is that of building prisons. Under various names and designations (detention center, jail, penitentiary, and so on), they seem to be multiplying in every state.
When we contemplate the plight of prisoners and the imperfection of a country where so many people are confined away from free society, the whole situation can be disheartening. Our response is likely to be that we can’t change things and will leave the grand solutions to someone else. We must be thankful, though, that a considerable number of people are refusing to ignore the predicament of those whom society has put away.
They are not trying to cure everything at once, but they are spending long hours on improving the picture, a little at a time. Their efforts remind us of Peter’s reference to the word of the prophets as “a light shining in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19, NIV), a phrase which could well apply to the gospel in a penal institution. And every prisoner rescued from repeat incarceration is a victory for himself, his teacher and his country.
The Bible doesn’t give many details about jails in those times, but it does tell us how to treat prisoners. The principles of kindness and generosity and missionary spirit and love for souls dictate that we be concerned for this whole, unfortunate group who are made in the image of God just as we are.
If we have opportunities to contribute to prison ministries in some way, we can be a blessing to the prisoners and pleasing to the Lord.