I visited someone in jail yesterday. I don’t like going to those kinds of places but it is a necessary part of my responsibility. Every time I go to places like that, I come away with strange emotions.
There is a heavy oppression that is obvious and it is easy to get weighed down by it. There is a lot of fear and I actually reminded myself that I did not have to stay if I did not want to, I could just walk out at any time. I was angry at a world where so much evil happens so often and so many people get hurt. I also felt a little hopeless and helpless as I only assumed the desperate condition of the lives I was observing. I felt a little guilty when it was time to leave and I knew that I was headed back to my safe neighborhood and home.
I found it especially troubling that the vast majority of people visiting the jail were females, most of whom had babies or small children with them. I was only assuming that the inmates were the fathers of these babies. What a sad reality, that innocent kids are suffering the results of their parent’s poor decisions. Knowing what I do about the propensity toward repetitive and learned behavior, we can assume that, without serious intervention, these babies will follow their fathers to jail.
I am not especially fond of the verse where God says, Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3 (NIV) I do care about these people and don’t mind reaching out to them but I can’t quite grasp that level of compassion and empathy. I don’t know that I will ever be able to feel what those prisoners must feel.
I am humbly glad that I’m free.