Institutionalized Freedom!

While watching a documentary about the prison system, it hit me the frame of mind that an inmate has to have or obtain after being locked up in a cell that is no bigger than a closet for a extended amount of time. For some its months, for others years, and many LIFE!

It seems that when they first enter, many of them felt it cannot be reality. “I won’t be here for long”, they thought. The 3 walls they see every morning and every night, won’t to stop them from thinking of the outside, their family, their friends, even their purpose. Eventually though, I noticed that many of them begin to accept their condition. They begin to decorated the walls with photos of loved ones, pictures of the things they missed seeing on the outside. Those things become the counterfeits for what they cannot have at their grasp. I also notice their language changes from hope of leaving to, making themselves apart of the world that has been created in that mall of prisoners. They have their own rules and laws to live by….its funny how even in a place full of people who have lived to break the rules, they must have rules in order to know how to survive in their condition.

They also formed bonds (family) if that is what you want to call it, with others whom they feel have the same fate as themselves. It is another world, lived in the world that they long for, but have been deemed unfit to live for a period of time.

I began to think about SIN. Being held captive to it and how miserably comfortable it can become. When you first have an encounter with it, you do have a sense of “This isn’t right”, but the more you indulge, the less you care the consequences. Then all of a sudden just when you thought you were going to be able to keep getting away with it, the rug is pulled from up under you and you go down, FAST. Next thing you know, you’re living in this new world and don’t know how you ended up there. Don’t really like being there, but become comfortable with the living arrangement because you don’t see your way out. You figure you have the strength to get out, but sooner or latter, you begin to accept your condition and become institutionalized.

It is but the grace of God that while in that state, he can give us the ability to see “A way of escape” from that dungeon, that cell, those 3 walls and cage door that holds you in. One prisoner on the documentary said he covers his window from the outside sunshine and grass, because if he sees it, it makes him long for it, so he lives as though it doesn’t really exist. What kind of life is that! Living as though some of the most natural things in the world, don’t exist. To pretend as though the sun isn’t shinning, even though it’s right outside your window. To behave as though grass doesn’t grow because you can’t feel it. Protecting yourself from its effects because you don’t believe you will be able to live as a free man one day, so why even allow it in. The hopelessness of that mind set for that prisoner broke my heart….for him, for myself. In spite of the evil crime he has committed, the wrong he has done, I wanted him to see the sun, to feel it on his face, and to feel the grass under his feet.

Sin is an ugly thing that robs us of the SUNSHINE to beam on our face and the GREEN GRASS to press beneath our feet. Freedom in Christ is such a sweet gift that I know I often times take for granted. I wish every prisoner, bond and broken person could feel the endless and boundless freedom in Jesus Christ. I wish that those locked away in SIN would not hide from the sun, believing their hope of being free is gone, ripped away by looking at their circumstance, believing the lie that Satan has shared for years and years and years to lost men and women from all around this world.

Jesus promised….I Cor 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

I praise God for the Escape route he has given us from our Prisons, our cells and our dungeons. Lets not cover the windows and pretend the sunshine doesn’t exist and the grass isn’t there. It’s there, and lets open the window and let the fresh air in and believe that while I may be in this place right now, Jesus came that I might have LIFE in Freedom, not LIFE in prison. That I could live as a free man, though I deserve the death penalty, he instead took my punishment, so I could live free from this prison of SIN.

Take the pictures down, take the counterfeits off the wall and go and live it, but as a NEW creature in Christ. The old man be done away with, leaving him or her behind in the cell.

Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” God helps us to accept your gift of LIFE and walk as free men and woman in you until you come to take us home. Please be with those who are physically bound to a cell, yet can live free through you, until they can touch the streets of Gold with their feet, and run their hands across the grass that sits by the tree of life, and have the sun shine upon them and wonder, “How did we make it over!”. AMEN!

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