Our lives and the lives of our incarcerated loved ones are not defined by one moment in time.
Perhaps some of our loved ones are falsely accused and wrongfully convicted, while others are guilty deserving the conviction. Regardless of how they ended up with a prison sentence, there is a common denominator—the label—inmate, offender, prisoner.
That label does not define who they are if they are in Christ.
You see my friend, as I continue to search the Word of God for answers to our reality, His Word comes alive to me showing me that our Savior understands.
“Jesus our High Priest is able to sympathize with each of us. He was tempted in every way we have been, but yet He never ever sinned” (Heb 4:15).
Jesus can sympathize with the convict. He too was a convict.
Jesus was falsely accused and tried in three courts.
Not once. Or twice. But three times.
And in the process of His trials, He was mocked, ridiculed, and made fun of repeatedly.
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him. They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet military robe. They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spit on Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. (Matthew 27:27-31 HCSB)
The men who were holding Jesus started mocking and beating Him. After blindfolding Him, they kept asking, “Prophesy! Who hit You?” And they were saying many other blasphemous things against Him. (Luke 22:63-65 HCSB)
If there had been online newspapers and social media in that time, the public jabbing of His character would have gone viral.
Having my son’s story blasted in the media after his arrest led to unwelcome phone calls and heart wrenching comments on the Internet. It was very painful. Things are never the fully way it way it appears in the media. Yet, our loved ones are judged in the court of public opinion for a moment of time.
Jesus understands the pain we endured for He also experienced it. And thankfully because of the sacrifice He made and the shedding of His blood, we have redemption of sins.
When we come to Christ, He makes all things new. We are a new creation. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17.)
We place those past behaviors under the blood of Jesus Christ through confession and repentance. And He promises to cleanse us from all the past wrongs.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 HCSB).
In Christ, our lives and the lives of our loved ones are NOT defined by the moment of time that led to their incarceration.
Allow God’s Word to define you, not the words of the world.
Related reading: God Uses the Outcasts