Millions of folks marveled at the strength of character demonstrated by Nelson Mandela who was incarcerated for twenty-seven years as a political prisoner. In 1985, he was offered a conditional release, which, on grounds of principle, he refused. His unconditional release was announced in 1990. It was indeed a grand view to see Mandela humbly but confidently walk outside to freedom for the first time in twenty-seven years!
Globally, we profoundly admired the African man who went from prisoner to president. Mandela didn’t re-enter society with bitterness as an emotional attachment. He was firmly for reconciliation in his region, a region that had long been one of racial and economic turmoil and unrest. Worldwide, Mandela spread his message of the need for reconciliation. Yes, certainly, he made an international impact. Millions of folks hold deep love, respect and gratitude for the man, Mandela and the love, humility, respect, wisdom, and knowledge that he shared and demonstrated.
Folks who haven’t lived through such circumstances have no in depth awareness of what transpires when Christians are sent to penal institutions. How much havoc does it wreak on Christians who serve time for their criminal actions? What about what their family members and friends endure? The challenging levels vary.
I read of a Christian wife whose pastor husband committed sexual crimes against women. The personal and professional toll was enormous. It’s hugely challenging to cope with such wounds and emotional upheavals.
Jim Bakker went to prison, and his daughter expressed that they lost everything, including folks whom they thought were their friends. Tammy Faye divorced Jim while he was confined. I was deeply touched to learn that Billy Graham visited him in prison.
God is sure pleased when we continue to demonstratively love those who have engaged in criminal conduct. No, we don’t excuse what they did, but we should forgive and continue to love them, as well as help them as guided by our Lord.
The Lord instructs us to forgive. Yes, but it can be so difficult to come to grips with the realities that Christian loved ones are confined due to criminal choices. My heart goes out to the confined folks, and to the connected people who are living with the consequences of such behavior.
It’s such a relief, though, to know that hope can remain, regardless. God loves, forgives and aids in coping with the harsh realities that exist for many. High and jubilant praises extend for the love and help from the Almighty.