|St. Peter in Prison by Rembrandt (Wikimedia Commons).|
An eye for an eye has been realized.
Every horror that has ever been wished on convicted felons by those of us in civilized society reveals itself in prison.
I saw it for myself on my visit to Florida State Prison in Raiford. I heard it in the stories told by the Deacon who goes several times a week to minister to the imprisoned.
They have committed horrible crimes, and for that they are punished in a way that seems inhumane and unfathomable.
This may please you. This may comfort you. This may somehow validate your righteousness or your sense of justice.
It did none of those things for me.
I entered into a concrete world of razor wire, metal bars, shackles, bolts and locks. There is a tower guard with a gun perched high at the entrance. There are gates that open and close intuitively and imposingly. I didn’t go very far without encountering another gate, making me ever aware that I am going farther and farther from the life I know into the cavernous depth of depravity.
Continue reading at Lara's blog Mercy Me! I've got work to do.
Lara, this was such a thoughtful post. I've never been to prison, but I offer ponder some of the things you mentioned. How do we find the balance between justice and mercy? We can't set free dangerous people, but is there a better way to isolate them without taking away their human dignity? I don't know. But, thank you so much for sharing you experience. You are incredibly brave and kind!ReplyDelete
From Lara, who is having technical difficulties:Delete
Thank you, Patricia. That is very generous of you. I am not really brave at all. But I figure that's where the Holy Spirit comes in :) Prison is definitely conflicting. I think its good though to remember how we are not really any different; not really any better. None of us want to be defined by our sins and we all are prisoners to something. I think maybe the reason God wants us to visit prisoners is to remember that humility; remember that forgiveness and salvation he offers all of us - the very "worst" of us. It's not my calling. I have such admiration though from the people I met who are called to it; I am almost jealous of them! The way they speak about it you can tell they are filled with the Holy Spirit. I didn't have the reaction. Still, now I pray for prisoners and for those who minister them. Mostly, I wish all the madness would stop that gets people into prison. It's insane now when I read the newspaper and every single day there are homicides - several of them just in my community and I think about those prison walls getting another life that was meant for goodness.
Thank you Connie! As you can see my technical issues are over for now and I just have my human ones!ReplyDelete