LISTEN NOW! WATCH FULL PROGRAM! It is important that when we think about those in our society, that we also think about those that may not be seen in the public view. What about those that are incarcerated? What about those in our correctional facilities? Instead of looking at people based on their past experiences, or mistakes, it is important that we look at people as Jesus sees them. Jesus never responded to people based on how society treated them. Neither should we. As the Church, what are we doing to help restore those who are incarcerated and those who are entering back into society?
According to Christian Post, 100 Christian leaders have recently come together to sign the Justice Declaration, “a declaration that calls for restorative criminal justice reform in the United States and urges Christians to unite in opposition to the nation’s “misguided response to crime””. When we take a closer look at the rates of incarceration in America, we find some startling realities. “The United States represents a mere five percent of the world’s population but we house 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population”. Instead of just looking at percentages, what is this in numbers? According to Prison Fellowship CEO, James Ackerman, “there are nearly 2.2 million Americans behind bars”.
When a crime happens, there is the victim, and those that committed the crime. It is important to remember that God is for both the victim and the one convicted of the crime. God cares about both justice and restoration. God cares so much about what we do, or what we don’t do, that Jesus will respond to us based on our response, and if we don’t respond. As Matthew 25:43 shares, “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
Our current justice system is broken. As Ackerman states, “Our country’s over reliance on incarceration fails to make us safer or restore people and communities who have been harmed”. Ackerman continues, “The Justice Declaration represents a framework grounded in biblical values to guide the church’s response to this crisis. It has already been signed by approximately 100 Christian leaders from across the country”.
When we are looking for restoration in these areas, we can see it clearly taking place with Prison Fellowship. It is vital to see the powerful stories of transformation when restoration takes place. Darryl tells his story of growing up in a home with a family of twelve as the youngest. Growing up without his father, he found himself on the streets and got addicted to cocaine. When his mother tried to get him to come home and leave the streets, he told her “you just let me die out here in the streets cause the streets is what I like”. It wasn’t long until he found himself in jail at 23 years old.
During his time in jail, Darryl came across Prison Fellowship, and he saw family for the first time. Two years after being released from prison, Darryl returned to the same prison, this time as a mentor for Prison Fellowship. It is so powerful to see the Holy Spirit moving throughout prisons in America. When Andres Bisonni shared the Gospel in Huntsville, Alabama to a gathering of inmates, the Holy Spirit showed up mightily. See the Holy Spirit on all is what it’s all about, see the full discussion of what is taking place with the Justice Declaration, and the full dialogue of how Jesus will respond to us, how Prison Fellowship is bringing about powerful restoration and healing, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Huntsville, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: crime, justice, restoration, criminal justice, hope, Ravi Zacharias, Great Commission, poverty, family, Johnnie Moore, Samuel Rodriguez, Prison Fellowship, Andres Bisonni Ministries, incarceration, justice system, evangelism, and love. John and Steve shared in this segment.
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