BEING IN JAIL
I walk in and go through processing. I sit and wait until given the direction to move on. I then stand at a closed, heavy steel door until it slowly automatically opens with a loud click and move into a small area, the door closes loudly and solidly behind me, then the door in front of me opens and I proceed through it. I walk down a brightly lit hallway to the door marked with the letter indicating my cell block, wait again for it to click and open and I enter and wait for the open door to close and the other door to unlock and open. I walk in to the commons area of the cell block, it’s a large room with some tables and chairs scattered throughout, there is a television area, a bank of pay phones, a couple of other specialized phones, a guard’s desk at the far end, a shower area and conference room off to one side. The individual cells are along the back and one side on two levels. The common room and cells are filled with men all wearing orange jumpsuits emblazoned with Fayette County Jail on the back. One thing is different, however, for me than for all those in the orange jumpsuits – I get to leave and go wherever I want in an hour.
I enjoy my weekly Bible study at the jail. I hope it is helpful for the men who choose to come and give up an hour of their “free” time to study and discuss the word of God. I know it is very good and helpful for me to be there. The other day, I went alone. Harold Holland usually goes with me (and Kerry Rasmussen went for a while before he moved), but he was unable to go on this day. There was a delay getting to go back to the cell block and once I got there, it was a few minutes before any of the prisoners came to the room.
As I sat there by myself waiting, I was looking out into the common area watching the activity of the men. I began to think of Paul, the apostle in prison. I couldn’t help but think how different his prison was from this county jail. Compared to his prison, this one was luxurious. But even with modern conveniences and allowances, the men in orange were still incarcerated and locked away from life outside. A jail is still a jail. Everything… every single thing, is set and regulated. Not by each man, but by those in authority who run the place. The prisoners do what they are told to do when they are told to do it. They are in complete subjection to their guards. While there might be an exception or two, every one of those men wants to be out of there and on their own, living their own lives and making their own choices. They will only get to leave, if and when they are told they can leave, by someone else.
Thinking about Paul made me think about myself and what Paul wrote about slavery to sin, which is also an imprisonment where my will has been subjected to the power of another (Rom. 6:16). Reading Romans chapter 6 inspires us to the true freedom we have only in Christ, but it also should sober us to who, what and where we are outside of Christ. Freedom versus slavery and life versus death: we do have a choice and the choice is clear (isn’t it?).
We might not have to wear orange jumpsuits, but when we sin, we are guilty and enslaved. The only way out is through Jesus Christ. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Think about that!