Today in prison I had a session looking at Ruth and the faithfulness of God. Afterwards I spoke to an inmate, a lady who loves Jesus and always inspires me. For the purpose of this story and because she reminds me of her, I will call her Ruth.
She is being Jesus inside! She started a group on her unit, meeting with a few ladies to read the bible and pray. She said she takes what I teach & we discuss in the chapel every week and then she teaches the women on her unit. The group has grown from 3 women to now 9 women! There is only 18 on her unit..so soon the whole house will be taking an hour out each day to read God’s word and pray, I will join them once a week.
She is in such a harsh environment and yet is not allowing anyone to ‘steal her joy’. She told me how she was in the chapel last week and some ladies came in. She knew these ladies and that they all would call themselves Christians. The two of them are constantly fighting though, so much so that they keep being moved to different units. So Ruth saw these ladies in chapel and saw one usher the other outside. She had a bad feeling about it and so Ruth invited one of the women to help her collect in the books, she knew if this lady went outside she would be once again in a fight.
Ruth asked the lady not to go outside and instead they chatted. Ruth asked her if she would say she was a Christian The lady replied that yes she would. Ruth said she felt this woman was being an embarrassment to Christ! That she needed to see that the biggest show we are to others of what we believe is how we act. Not always what we say, anyone can profess that they are a Christian but what does that mean if your actions say something completely other, and actually people fear you!
Therefore Ruth suggested that no matter what their issues were, this lady were to write to the other and apologise. Whether she felt it was her fault or not. Tell her she was sorry for her part, she wanted to love her instead and with God’s help be a better witness. The lady did so!
The next day lady 2 (the receiver of the letter) came to Ruth and said “What did you do? How did you get her to apologise?”. Ruth had a similar chat to this lady and encouraged her to think about the other women in the prison, how much better would it be to be helping people know Jesus-have purpose, love and hope- than be feared and alone.
So this lady wrote a letter back to Lady1. They are now meeting up to pray and already women have started asking what has happened, why have they changed-and wanting to join them in praying!!!
This so encouraged me..but also really challenged me. Ruth still does not know what their issues were, she just knew that the bible said ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. How often do we want to know the issues, find out all the details, maybe take a side? We coax people that they are right, they have been wronged. When how counter-cultural is it to just do as Jesus would.
Apologise. Forgive. Love. Pray . Move On. Help others to do the same!