UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON

47

Of course, in order to teach someone, there must be a close relationship and consistent communication with them. Know where they are in their spiritual walk and studies. Build them up and edify the Truth in them by encouraging them in truths they know and build from there. Don’t be negative or critical when helping them. Do Bible study with them or share good Bible truths with them frequently so that you might be able to see a clique problem starting and address it before it takes hold. Always do all these things with love.

I have seen some men in prison speak out against cliques for years and then one day join one. So be on guard that it can happen even down the road in prison. If your loved one speaks to you about joining a group that is not in unity with the body of Christ and exclude themselves from church service the best advice is to quote scripture. To paraphrase, those who forsake the assembly of God should not be followed after. This group is a self righteous group in which pride and arrogance has taken root. They may be our Christian brothers, but we can only warn them. We can not continue to try to talk them into coming back because it is dangers for our spiritual walk. Only prayer will work for them.

If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. But do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.”  (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 NKJV)

One of my closest friends in prison used to share the scriptures with me frequently. We would spend much time studying and meditating on them. We prayed together and had many answers to prayer. When one of us was sad the other would help pick him up. One day, he was moved to a lower security level and we couldn’t share anymore. About a year later, I was moved also and I was so happy because I knew I would be able to study and share with my friend again. I went to church the first week and he was not there. So the next week, I went looking for him in the yard where the cliques hang out. Sure enough he was involved in a religious clique in the yard and had left the church. We talked and he even came back to church for a little while, but then went back to the clique. I tried to talk to him some more after that, but I could see his mind was made up, so I had to leave him alone. It really hurt, but I knew that if I continued hanging around him, I might be affected by the false teachings of the click. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”

When you communicate with your loved ones or friends in prison, be sure to know if there are any cliques that might be influencing your loved one.  If you hear of any, ask if they go to the church service, Bible studies, and prayer groups with the church as a whole. Try to get a feel if they are for the church as a whole or against it. A sure sign is if a group is always arguing with other Christians. And then again, pray, pray, pray for your loved one to be protected against such false teachings and influence.

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