UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
There are many deeds that normally in the real world, a person would be commended for doing. In prison, however, these same deeds are looked down on due to the generally evil thoughts and perverted thinking in prison. Good is not looked at as good. Evil is looked at as good and good is looked at as being a snitch or “brown noser” or someone who is weak and can’t defend himself. For many, religion is a way of escape from the beastly lifestyle that is promoted. For fighters and killers who sincerely become Christians, being a child of God is hard to handle because the other inmates look at Christians as weak people who are running or hiding from something. Being a Christian in prison is hard. It takes deep commitment.
For which of you, intending
to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has
enough to finish it.
Many, who come to know Jesus Christ while in prison, do not consider the cost and the commitment they need to make. Often, the new Christian inmate is not prepared for the trials and the pressure that he will experience. He will be mocked frequently. Many fold due to peer pressure and stop living their lives for Christ. This is why “getting the faith” while in prison gets such a bad rap. This is probably one of the most difficult environments in which a new Christian can grow and take hold of his faith securely.
For the few prisoners that have considered the cost and prepared for it, they will continue to grow in Christ, steadfast in His love. This book was written to help you help your friend or relative prepare and reach that point. Your help and support in preparing a new Christian to get through the trials he will experience on a day to day basis in prison is critical. Remind him, that he will experience the great rewards of answered prayers, peace, joy and happiness too. Taking a stand for Christ is well worth it all.
Persecution will not only come from other prisoners, but also, unfortunately, from the officers and staff within the prison system. The officers and staff stereotype all prisoners. To them, Christian means “fake” or someone “hiding behind religion”. Some of the staff may look at the prisoner’s new faith as a true change, but most of them will consider it to be false. They will watch him even closer to see what his motive is behind this new “Christian act”.
To be confident, a new believer needs to stay close to Christ, other believers and consistently study the Word of God. If your friend or loved one in prison feels that you understand what he is going through in prison, it will create a stronger bond between you and him. He will know that you do have knowledge and understanding of his situation. He will be able to relate to you better and draw confidence from that relationship as well.
The first stop in the prison system is very hard on most new Christians because they may only have a phone call or letter for comfort and support. As the examinations continue, he will find himself confused about the results of the examinations since in his mind, he is a changed person. He has been saved by Christ and set free from the bondage that once held him in captivity spiritually. No one understands this except God and a few other believers. So, there is a lot of self-doubt or thoughts of giving up the new faith. He will wonder if he should just go back to living life like others (unbelievers) say he should. This is similar to the phenomenon that a new believer goes through on the outside when his unbelieving friends find out that he became a Christian. The pressure is much more difficult to battle in prison.
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