Prison: A Business

McNeil Island 1Not everyone in prison deserves to be there, many are just at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Many are innocent. 

There are others that committed the crime they were convicted of but imprisonment is a much greater punishment than the crime itself.  For example, if someone commits the act of rape and is then killed by another, has the killer committed a crime?

If a parent is without food for their child should they let the child starve or do what is necessary to feed them?  According to our laws they have both broken the law, but God says otherwise.

Exodus 20:13, one of the Ten Commandments, says, “Thou shalt not kill.”  He is talking about murder, not proper punishment.

And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life.

Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Ex 21:23-25).

Those that committed a crime without proper cause should be imprisoned accordingly, meaning that the punishment is equal to the crime. 

For example, I did 9 years in Washington State for unarmed robbery.  I did the act due to my need/desire for Cocaine.  Was my sentence fair?  It was more than fair, I got off easy.  Twenty years later, in Texas, I was in my own backyard naked slamming dope and my neighbor’s 16 year boy saw me and because I was already a felon I did 3 years and have to register as a Sex Offender.  Was my sentence fair?  I would say no, but I don’t regret it because from that I got a personal relationship with Jesus.

Hypothetical Situation:McNeil Island 2

You live next door to me and are told that I’m Sex Offender, but you aren’t told why I’m classified as one so you despise and possibly fear me.

The person on the other side of you is a batterer, or robber, or drug dealer, or murderer, but you aren’t told that.  Is the law on your side?

The laws are no longer made to protect the innocent, but to control the environment.  Prisons are no longer used to keep the innocent safe; they’ve become profitable businesses.

The laws of God in the Old Testament still stand today unless Jesus has made a change in them.  Jesus has not changed or altered the laws noted above, He redefined them:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;

But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whatsoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also (Matt 5:38-39).

It sounds like Jesus is saying that we should ignore cruelty and allow the wicked to continue as they are.  On the contrary, He is telling us not to be evil like they are, to punish them with His love, i.e. to set the punishment equal to the crime.  That is what God was saying when He created the eye for an eye law, but man is just too ignorant to understand Him.  This is my perception, I could be wrong.

If you have never done time you haven’t a clue what goes on behind those walls and writers of movies that have prison scenes in them obviously have not been incarcerated because trust me, it is an entirely different world.  It’s nothing like jail.  Prison is a cross between a kennel and being in a foreign country. 

McNeil Island 3Have you ever had a nightmare where you wanted to scream out of fear but you couldn’t?  If you have, welcome to the beginning of your stay in the penitentiary.

If you have a relative or friend behind bars and are undecided on whether you should send them money, I would say yes send it, even $10 is a lot in prison.  I use Jpay to send money.  Yet, do watch yourself because many will take advantage of your kindness. 

So you ask, “Then why should I help them?”  Just because.  Hopefully my poems “The Boardwalk” and on the “On The Boulevard” will help you understand prison.

Now that I’ve ran my mouth are you wondering if I respect the law?  I respect God’s laws.

Do I trust the police?  Usually, I’d trust a convict first, at least I know what they’ll do or not do.  Yet, not all cops are bad.   The media rarely tells us the good things that cops do, only the bad.

Do I trust politicians?  What, do I sound stupid?

We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of IdolatryBook Idolatry
By G.K. Beale / IVP Academic

The heart of the biblical understanding of idolatry, argues Gregory Beale, is that we take on the characteristics of what we worship. Employing Isaiah 6 as his interpretive lens, Beale demonstrates that this understanding of idolatry permeates the whole canon, from Genesis to Revelation. Beale concludes with an application of the biblical notion of idolatry to the challenges of contemporary life.

Finding God in Unexpected PlacesBook Finding God
By Philip Yancey / Random House, Inc

An Atlanta slum. A pod of whales off the coast of Alaska. The prisons of Peru and Chile. The plays of Shakespeare. A health club in Chicago. For those with eyes to see, traces of God can be found in the most unexpected places. Yet many Christians have not only missed seeing God, they’ve overlooked opportunities to make him visible to those most in need of hope.

In Finding God in Unexpected Places, Philip Yancey serves as an insightful tour guide for those willing to look beyond the obvious, pointing out glimpses of the eternal where few might think to look. Whether finding God among the newspaper headlines, within the church, or on the job, Yancey delves deeply into the commonplace and surfaces with rich spiritual insight. You’ll journey from Ground Zero to the Horn of Africa, and each stop along the way reveals footprints of God, touches of his truth and grace that will prompt you to search deeper within your own life for glimpses of transcendence.

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