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What is Prison All About?
We know it is a place where offenders must serve their time once they've been found guilty of committing a crime. They were handed a sentence by the court for whatever it was they did wrong. But what else is there about prison other than it being a state-sanctioned punishment?
For me, a man who has been incarcerated for thirty-eight years, and who, I am sorry to say, took a number of innocent lives at a time in my life when my heart was very dark and my mind was troubled - prison has become a place in which to ponder the meaning of one's existence. To try to better understand why I did what I did to hurt others, and what the future holds for me.
I am currently serving a life sentence. But as the days and years pass, the hopelessness I once felt when I first came to prison, has slowly vanished. You see, I had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. He came into my heart and gave me hope. He also granted complete forgiveness for all my sins and crimes, even though I had done nothing to deserve it.
And, as with many prisoners, over time our criminal acts began to haunt us. We have tremendous remorse over what we did. Some of us took the lives of our victims. While others left their victims bleeding and injured; I did both.
Unfortunately, however, for a while at least, many prisoners will go to great lengths, oftentimes unconsciously, to try to deny and suppress their guilt, along with the related feelings of remorse and regret. But such mental demons as these will eventually eat you alive. One cannot run from his memories, nor from his conscience. I know this to be true from my own experience.
Yet, thankfully, with help from God, I managed to at some point face these things. And, little by little, the Lord helped me to accept and receive His forgiveness, and to deal with the pain of the past.
And while I will never stop grieving for those who lost their lives, and never want to stop praying for those who continue to suffer until now, I know there is hope for them, too, because God is a "God of hope" (Romans 15:13). As the Scripture declares, "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37).
But what then is prison about? It is, in part, a place where one can come to terms with who you are, what you did to get here, and what you must do so that what caused you to come to prison never happens again. It is also a place where a man or woman can make peace with their Maker.