UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
There are several ministries available that can help provide a good clean, safe environment in which a former Christian inmate can live. Perhaps he already knows of one, but may not want to consider it without your support and encouragement for the wrong reasons. Many new Christians have the false impressions that as a Christian they can face temptation and resist it, so why avoid it. However, the Holy Bible consistently warns us to flee from temptation and not be so foolish or arrogant. If he has that way of thinking, a good Bible study with him on this subject would be helpful. Proverbs is an excellent source of wisdom. It will take time, love and patience in helping him with this decision.
For those of you who provide a place for a newly released Christian inmate, please understand that there will be a time of transition needed. Prison is so different from the outside that many behaviors or manners that are acceptable in prison as normal may not be in your home. Perhaps, he will have developed poor habits in his speaking or eating habits or health care and needs time to readjust to a more acceptable way when out of prison. Patience and careful encouragement are the key to a successful transition.
Fellowship with other Christians outside of church is important as well. Help him to feel accepted and involve him in activities with your friends as much as possible. The more his life is filled with positive, loving and genuinely caring individuals the less apt he will be to look up his old friends and go back to his old ways. Some of his old friends may come looking for him as well. But if he is surrounded by new friends that share his new Christian beliefs, he will be less likely to go back to his old friends. And his old friends are not going to hang out with him with other Christians around. So keep him busy and involved.
Everyone needs financial planning. We all need money to live!! Planning for a job is very important. Looking for an appropriate job takes several considerations such as level of education or skill, and his budget. What are his expenses going to be? How much income is needed to meet these new expenses and help build a future? It will be hard to get started without debt. Most inmates who leave prison have nothing. Debt can cause terrible temptations and pressure. It is almost impossible for anyone to live without car, utilities, phone, and rent payments. What is important is for your friend to know the danger of having debt and to keep it as minimal as possible until he can build a financial future. Debt can quickly push someone right back into the life of crime because he might feel that there is no other way out. You, yourself, may have a lot of debt and say, 'I'm not tempted to commit a crime.', but you haven't been recently surrounded with criminals and their communication for years in prison. Time will help heal this temptation, but in the meantime help him to keep his debt very low with a budget and encourage him to work hard at his job to grow and move forward in life. If he is tempted to overbuy, remind him how he lived without many things in prison when he had to. And let him know that if he watches his budget, the time will come where he will be able to enjoy those things again without the pressure of unnecessary debt.Most importantly, the new job must not involve any area of temptation for the new Christian according to his weaknesses. Remember, besides his new home, his job will be the place he will spend most of his time! If his fellow workers are not Christians and have unacceptable habits, he could fall back into his old ways before he even sees it coming. Keep an open dialogue going about his job with him so that you can advise him if you see
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