Who Are We Visiting In Jail?
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The Great Battle Of Our Day Is Where Most Are Ashamed to Be....by Robert Gamble
January 25, 2011
I grew up in an evangelical household and we were taught the basics about the faith. One of the things that used to bother me was Christ pointing out to the people that were being rejected in the Day of Judgment; that they did NOT visit him when he was in prison.
The reply that was most bothersome to me was “When did we not visit you?!” In other words, there was a visitation going on, but to whom? That bothered me.
That bothered me, because there are prison ministries that are primarily to those who need to hear the gospel, but not for those who are in prison for the faith.
One thing that struck me as I was studying past histories of our forefathers, Jon Hus in particular, is that they were alone. Jon Hus was alone. He nearly died in prison with sickness.
We Have Great Freedoms That Blind Us
In America we have great freedoms. We can have families; dwell in nice homes, flush toilets, hot showers, air conditioning, drive a nice car…the list goes on. We have so many blessings that it blinds us to the injustice, the theft, the graft and the cruelty of the society we live in.
Women are debased. Pornography is rampant, even children are being used for this horrific system. Abortion marches on, and the voice in the courts for the unborn is silent. There is a seeming wall of impenetrability in the courts where abortion will stay.
It is not that abortion is the only evil, there are many, many in this land who are losing their life savings to unjust courts, and an unjust system of weights an balances. Yet again, the Christian people are….silent.
We Make Excuses In God's Name
An attitude which is most bewildering is held by many mainline denominational churchs that the Government is basically sovereign, and that all they say is correct and without error. “For the Civil Minister is ordained of God”…we are told.
This argument was used when Jews were being hauled off to the concentration camps. It got so bad that a German woman who recalls her childhood memories of trains passing by with people loaded on board, that during their church service….they would turn up the organ…to drown out the screams.
There is something about the stigma of Germany, Hitler and the 3rd Reich that just turns our stomachs…trouble is we will not see or hear of the “blood in our land.”
There Is Blood On Our Heads
Bottom line is that “blood is being shed” and it is not by the gangs, it is the “system we live under.”
That means there are things “wrong” with:
- Our judicial system
- Our Penal System
- Our Money System
- And many more….but these are Core movers and shakers of America.
As the proverb points out
“Pro 13:23 Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.”
The productive are destroyed by poor court systems, by bad judgments, by judges doing their own will.
“When the wicked rule, the people mourn” for cause because the wicked have a “take all, leave nothing” mindset. How many people do you know that just cringe when told about the parable of the vineyard.
We Are Offended At Truths Taught Even By Christ
You know the parable of the vineyard where the statement (by Christ mind you) says “
Mat 20:11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
Mat 20:12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
Mat 20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
Mat 20:14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Mat 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
Many, myself included at first, would look at this parable as being a mistake. We are tempted to say:
“That business owner should be forced to pay better and or be arrested! He is evil, and that whole idea that he is promoting is destructive to labor, and society at large.”
Be careful how you speak, for a judge is just around the corner itching to do just that!
The point of this article is that if we start picking and choosing what truths are palatable, then we will act in that manner too. And Christ would have none of that.
All of His truth is palatable, and worth considering.
Justice Is a Truth We Shy Away From
One such truth is: Justice in the courts is vital for investment and a tomorrow worth living for.
Martin Luther may not have known that what he stood for was justice. He would not recant truth, and pressed the rulers of the day to point out that he was worthy of criminal action and must deny the Lord and His word as being preeminent in the court. He would not recant, he would not deny His Lord.
And so, not denying His Lord, Christ did not deny him. He was kept safe and the word erupted with power through out the land.
Ask Yourself, What Makes a Good Movie?
The good defeating the bad. To stand up for righteousness is to stand in the face of evil and say “Thus sayeth the Lord.” That makes better than a good movie, that makes life.
It gets pretty breezy when the wicked come in like a flood…
Sit down and read “Foxe’s book of Martyrs” and it will open your eyes to the evils that Christians are called to stand up against. I used to as a youth praise God that it was not my lot to be Martyred…I loved my life too much.
What Makes Us Uncomfortable Really?!
And that is the point. We love OUR COMFORTABLE LIVES too much to act. That really is the issue. It is not an argument that we can put up from scripture that basically supports in-action, it is cowardess. It is our not wanting to grapple with the fact that it gets uncomfortable and dirty to deal with wickedness. It gets us out of our comfort zone.
Here is the stark truth. We may someday stand before a judge and be there unjustly. We may not even have a warrant pulled to have us show up in court. We may be there just because we stood up against some evil… like a nasty sheriff, or a corrupt judge.
What then? You surely would like to have some support. But no attorney will touch you with a ten foot pole. Still doesn’t remove the fact that you have been falsely accused, and are alone.
The issue here is:
that you certainly would like to be heard as being right; that they are wrong and that we all could just go home and sleep in our beds…but that is not going to happen.
A person who is in jail unjustly is just that. Accused of truth as evil. To stand by your brethren in this time of need, does a couple of things:
it shows the weakness of your position
it strengthens your resolve because there are those who will weather the storm with you…you really know who you can count on.
it shows who is the real power here….God
Wow, that doesn’t seem like much of a list. First, it shows the weakness of your position…how is that helpful? Lets be honest, if a lot of people show up, it shows that you are not weak. If many do not show up, it shows you are weak. (Okay….where are you going here?...)
Second, that is pretty obvious, having support is greatly needed.
Do not underestimate the warmth of friends and a network of support. When you are standing alone and risking all, there are those who will help and watch your back while things are going badly for you…your cares of the world (such as family and children) are being taken care of by others.
This second point is the one that Christ points out...”You did not visit me….” The visitation, the standing by gives hope in the hour of direness. The doubts (even Christ had them in the garden and on the Cross…) of “Am I really doing the right thing here?” will be driven back into the wood work as those who stand by you say silently “Yes you are doing the right thing here!”
Luther, in his great stand, was encouraged by a few. Before Luther walked into the assembled powers of Europe, a battle weary general and soldier, drew Luther aside and said “God be with you monk….” I am sure it lifted Luther’s spirits as he went into the crowded assembly. It more than likely added resolve to Luther in his saying “I can do no other….God Help me!”
And that draws us to the final point
“God is our refuge and our strength, our ever present aid.” The man who stands in such an hour really truly tastes of the goodness of God and His strengthening hand. For in all of our concerns, God is with us, God is our strength, He will win the battle for us. As Paul points out “All things work together for Good to them that are called according to His purpose.”
At this point in time, it may not appear that it is for our good, and quite honestly may not be so bright for our good…we may get martyred….but the bright side is this: God promises to build with what you have done on that day.
If you stand before corruption, be rest assured the nail has been driven in to the first plank of corruptions destruction. Be rest assured that the little strength that is shown during that day, will explode into a mighty hand of God destroying the wicked.
You may stand in the court room with a few strong men, like Gideon with nothing but pots and lamps and clubs, but the resounding victory will be God shown to be glorious, God will be the victor: the wicked will be overthrown by Gods hand.
As the Psalmist says “
Psa 64:7 But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded.
Psa 64:8 So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away.
Psa 64:9 And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God
; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
If you look in History you will see those with little strength, those that stood against tyranny, and the resounding reply of victory was that of God providing strength.
Example (and we will close here):
John Eliot wrote the Petition of Right against King Charles I. He was thrown in the tower and died of tuberculosis. He was alone, he was cold, he was cast away. But….and there is a big BUT here….
Those Rights, that petition or regress that rights were being violated, formed bedrock and foundation to a greater day a greater more famous document, a greater more famous era.
It formed the basis for our Constitutional Freedoms. His stand formed the basis that the Law is King, not the King Law. That butchers like Hitler, Stalin, Ida Amin, Mao Tse Tong, Che Guevara, are Lawless and deserve the wrath of the people, not the wrath of them upon the people.
What Rulers Should Be Afraid To Do
When Che Guevara states “Who needs due process?!” and then proceeds to sign death sentence after death sentence, it is Che who should be afraid, and not the people.
God worked powerfully through John Elliot’s work and dreams and brought them to fruition in a Constitution Republic called America the Beautiful.
It may appear bleak at the moment, but the calling of every Christian is to be the light in the darkness. And the light is the truth standing before tyranny and saying “You are wrong, God is right.” You may not have the particular calling of being that person, but you may have the ability to stand by and be the support of many like that person…that is the “visitation to prison” that Christ is talking about.
“He who is not ashamed of Me, I will not be ashamed of him”: Christ