Hundreds of inmates in a Mississippi prison, which houses illegal immigrants, rioted this past Sunday. One prison guard was beaten to death; several others were seriously injured. Many would read this story and think about our country’s illegal immigration problem. Others, would read this and blame the company that runs the prison. However, in some ways, I honestly blame myself; myself and thousands of other Christians.
Many of us are guilty, because we know the solution, yet are doing little to deal with the problem. The real solution is not in electing new officials, passing new laws, or even enforcing old laws. These things may very well be necessary, but only deal with the symptoms of the problem. The real problem is that these souls have made themselves slaves of sin (Romans 6:16). They are trapped in a hopeless and meaningless existence.
There is only one solution to their problem, and chances are you know the solution. You know that their only hope is the Gospel; the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is only by hearing, believing, and obeying the Gospel, that these violent men can be “set free from sin” (Romans 6:7).
Young kids, growing up on the streets, in this country and around the world, need to hear the message of God’s grace. They need to hear about Jesus Christ. They need to hear about salvation. That’s what will keep them out of prison in the first place.
And for those who are already in prison, this may be the best time of their life to hear the gospel. Many of them have hit rock bottom. They are desperate for a change of life. Plus, they often have the time to sit for hours studying the Word of God. If we would only reach out to them with the Gospel, many of them would receive it gladly.
Thankfully, there are congregations of the Lord’s church who are teaching and preaching to those who are incarcerated. J. Randal Matheny wrote a post recently about the Baker Heights congregation, in Abilene, Texas. That congregation recently baptized eight souls, from the Taylor County Jail, into Christ. I am so thankful for Christians who understand the urgency of reaching people with the gospel.
The question is this, if we know the gospel is the solution to this horrible problem, how do we not shoulder some responsibility if we fail to teach and preach it?
Events like this prison riot are a sobering reminder that the responsibility for changing the world belongs to those who know the Good News; we must share what we know with a lost and dying world!
I love you and God loves you,