I spoke to 23 men at the jail tonight. These are some of the guys in the drug program so we spoke the same language. I recognized several of the men from the many times I have gone there over the last few years but there were many new faces as well. Sometimes it seems they would get tired of hearing my testimony but since there were so many new faces I gave them a short version just to let them know who they were listening to.
As I told them about three of my best friends that died as a result of drugs and alcohol, I asked them “How many of you guys know someone that has died or been killed because of drugs?” Out of the 23 I would say 16-18 of them raised their hands. That is an incredible percentage don’t you think?
I know that drug and alcohol abuse stems from something deeper, but I am so sick of seeing how it is destroying people’s lives. I know I can’t do anything to stop it by myself, but I can introduce these guys to the one who can! His name is Jesus and he is the one who can set them truly free, and “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
After telling them of lost friends, lost income and my wife leaving, because of drugs and my being hard headed, I shared how Jesus Christ delivered me from addiction and a life without purpose. He reunited my wife and me after two years of being divorced and changed everything about our relationship. We were married for five years, divorced for two and remarried now for over 11. I am positive I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for Jesus Christ in my life. It is a miraculous story of reconciliation and those guys can have something just as great if they will just learn to trust Christ with their lives.
It seems no matter what I intend to teach on at the jail the difference between soul and spirit always finds its way in. When you are in a cell for the better part of your day thoughts tend to swirl from everything including court cases, wives, jobs, children and on and on. When these men start to see that their soul life, made up of their thoughts and emotions, don’t have to control them anymore they are empowered. Usually it goes something like this. There’s something in my life I don’t like or want to deal with so I run for cover in drink or drugs. Of course this places me in illegal situations, whether it’s buying drugs or driving under the influence, and then you guessed it; I’m in jail. All of this can be avoided if I learn how to walk in the Spirit rather than try to manage thoughts and emotions. It is really simple if we stop long enough to see it.
When our time together was over several of the guys came up and shook my hand. Most of the time they are really thankful I came to see them. One guy shook my hand and told me “You talked about just what I needed to hear tonight. I was thinking about this earlier today because my thoughts had gotten away from me. This is exactly what I needed to hear, thank you.” This is the reason I go to the jail. So many of these guys are believers but they just have never had anyone teach them how to walk in the Spirit or what that looks like. Once they start to see how to walk in the Spirit they can learn to relax and let God take care of things for a change.