One of the most valuable lessons I learned while I was in jail, was love!
John 3:16 reads: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
THAT is true love! Something I just couldn’t understand. Not long after arriving in jail, and as my journey through the Bible was beginning, I sat down with a prison chaplain. I told him about the struggles I was having, and how people on the outside were shunning, not only me, but also my wife and family for MY actions. His answer was to “love” those people! It made NO sense to me at the time.
I’ve struggled with love my whole life. I had told almost no one about my upcoming incarceration. My wife knew, obviously, and my kids, even my oldest brother (with whom I have no relationship with right now), but I couldn’t even tell my parents! Shame was part of it, and fear of how they’d respond, but also it was the lack of love that I had for everyone, including myself. In fact it was this lack of love that caused the whole issue in the first place! So if I couldn’t love my own family, how could I love those who hated me?
Amazingly though if we look through the Bible, we find that God has loved us from the very day He created us, even when we sinned and disobeyed Him, He never gave up on us. So if God could love us unconditionally, then we MUST find a way to love others.
I quickly found out in jail, that being separated from my family, and especially my wife, made me realize how important they were. I told my wife over and over again in letters and in the bi-weekly phone calls I made how much I loved and missed her. She, however was on a different page, and while she accepted my words, it was actions that she needed, and those actions couldn’t occur until I was released.
I read the Bible daily, and also read many other materials on various subjects, mainly Bible based, to help me analyse and learn what I needed to know, and most importantly what God was trying to tell me.
As my time in jail progressed, I started to understand more and more about what true love is. The “characters” that you meet in jail are varied in many forms, young and old, all different personalities and ideals, different racial backgrounds, basically a cross-section of society, all locked up together. You HAD to learn to get along, or else your time would be completely miserable. I have to admit, that most of the people I met and befriended while in jail, I wouldn’t have said one word to if I’d met them outside our restricted society. But being in there and reading the Bible taught me that I needed to accept and love people for who they are.
As my release date approached, time stood still. I wanted, NEEDED, to be home to prove to those around me that I had changed, and not only to prove to others, but I also needed to prove to myself. To this day I am still amazed at the person I am today, compared to the person I was before. I had just over one month remaining in my sentence when I received incredible, and totally unexpected news. I would be going home one month early (more on that later). I’d be able to prove sooner that I was the new person.
I had three days left before I was going home instead of the month that I was prepared for. I called my wife to tell her, and she wasn’t home! I called again and again, and no answer! I was screaming inside with the news I wanted to share, but couldn’t reach her. Finally after many attempts, late into the evening, I finally reached her, and she literally screamed into my ear with the news. She was as surprised as me, but our reunion was just a few days away.
Yes, I had learned about love while in jail, but now I was about to put it to test.
…More to come
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Steps to Christ:
Thousands have become acquainted with Jesus through this little book, Steps to Christ. And it has helped many more, including those who have walked with Him for years, to know Him better. In just thirteen short chapters, you’ll discover the steps to finding a forever friendship with Jesus. You’ll read about His love for you, repentance, faith and acceptance, growing like Him, the privilege of prayer, what to do with doubt, and how to spend your days rejoicing in your best Friend, Jesus.