Monday, November 13, 2006

Jesus in Jail

When I was younger I ended up going to prison 4 times, all very short periods, I also had time in a probation hostel, which is like a half way house, you have a curfew and if you break it you go back to prison. This happened to me once when I got drunk and missed a bus home…

The thing that surprised me most about prison was how normal every body was; yeah you have a few nutters and a few gangsters, but most people in prison are as normal as me and you.....

I used to go to art class with a murderer he was a lovely man, the problem was one night he got drunk, got in a fight, punched someone and killed him, they said it was pre-meditated so he got life. You know what, he was kind, he was kind to me.

I was handcuffed to a hard core bank robber once, they caught him with a sawn off shot gun in the car, we had Christmas dinner together with a few other hoodlums in a police station, you know what he was kind, he was kind to me.

I had a friend who was in for stabbing someone, he wasn’t drunk, he told me he didn’t need to he just had anger issues, he used to walk around the exercise yard with me and get me decent prison uniform, he was kind.

One guy I knew, he’s dead now, used to always look out for me because I was friends with his brother, I used to hear him shouting out his cell window at night from the other wing “is Brian okay?” he was a drugs dealer, the drugs killed him in the end, but to me he was kind.

It sounds a bit weird, I am in no way justifying their crimes, and neither did they, but these guys were all kind.

We have to be careful we don’t start thinking that Christians are the only kind people in the world.

Darwin was wrong, I don’t think we live in a world where the fittest survive, I have seen loads of weak people survive on others kindness. I have.

To be Christ like we must be kind, did I see Christ in these men?


scotty said...

Amen! why is it that Christians think they have the monopoly on Kindness? Thinking about it, in my top ten of kind people i know at least half arent christians.

Anonymous said...

Actually Brian I think that you have got it completely the wrong way round. The truth of God revealed by Jesus shows us that "no-one is good" - only God himself and we all (that is all of mankind) need redeemed. Here in good 'ole Norn Iron we have a long history of "bad men" who did terrible things to "innocent" people but went home to their families and partners and truly loved them, were kind to the lady at the postoffice, cared for small animals, etc. The bottom line is that you see the imprint of God in what remains of the pre-fall Adam in everyone. But all are sinners. That includes you and me who, since we have been forgiven much, love (God) much - at least in my case!. Those guys in prison are as far away from God the Father as the most upright do-gooder who has never spoken a bad word or done a bad deed (apparently) in all their life - both need the salvation of Christ! Or, putting it another way, the cross of Christ is there for them just as close...
Just to close, kindness in the fluffy sense can be overrated - Jesus wasn't particularly kind to many of the "church fathers" hanging around Jerusalem!
Thanks for the thoughts.
Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Whoops! the "at least in my case" was in terms of "forgiven much" - re-reading the comment makes it out that I love God more than you and I'm almost 100% sure that I don't.
Please forgive my unintentional pride!!!

davidhewitt said...

Actually I think you have it the right way around, in the general sense (no need to get biblically pedantic Will) - there are lots of 'good' people in the world who don't necessarily believe in God.

I recently questioned what is the point in us using 'modern evangelism' where the unsaved experience good deeds done by Christians, in order to show the love of Jesus, rather than cold calling, sometimes damaging, pronouncing of how people are doomed to hell in the street, or 'bible bashing' as it may be referred to by some.

But if we use this new modern technique of doing good acts to convince people they need Jesus, what distinguishes us from 'good and kind' people, many of whom show the same kindness, but do not believe in God?

I sometimes feel we spiritually woo people into needing Jesus just because we do nice things for them. Do we do it because we want another notch on the pearly gates, or because we really want to show Jesus' love to that person? Or does it matter?

Brian Heasley said...

I know what you mean William, I tryed to communicate in one of my posts why i think we need to go beyond just being fluffy and kind, but for some people it's a start, it's not the end game but a beginning.

Dave I think you are spot on we have to not treat people like projects, but where do we draw the line?

Having been kind to people this summer and asking them for prayer I am just sharing my own surprise at how well it worked.

Kindness is not something new, I find the Jesus I read about in the Bible incredibly kind.

Maybe not to the religious and church people, but definetly to the lost.

I think for us it's taking that act of kindness to a spiritual evel, offering prayer works.


Brian Heasley said...

level, not evel