Presidents Corner, Sept 24, 2021
by Dr. Romney Ruder
How does God feel about the incarcerated? Certainly, a God of justice believes that guilty people should be punished for their crimes (sins). But in Psalm 68, He kind of throws us for a loop. In verse 6, David explains that we serve a God that “offers prosperity to the prisoner” (ESV). Depending on the version of scripture you are reading, some of the language appears even more forgiving to the person behind bars. In some it describes, “that He leads out the prisoners with singing” (NIV). The Message goes even farther in its statement. It says that “God leads the prisoners to freedom”.
At quick glance, it appears that this verse indicates that God is willing to give the incarcerated wealth, easy living, joy, singing, and most important of all: freedom. In fact, taking a deeper dive into the reading, we realize that God cares deeply about those behind bars. It is spelled out in this scripture. While all of us are covered by the Blood of Christ, He specifically is speaking about those imprisoned in verse 6. Just as God is there for you and I, He is there for those that are behind bars.
What He offers is something greater than the physical wealth of earth and the physical freedom from being locked up. Rather, He indicates that He desires to reach the inmate with the riches of heaven, the unbounding of never-ending torment, and the celebration of everlasting life.
Lifeline Global understood this 17+ years ago when we were invited to minister to men behind bars who had heard this call and desired to pass this message of hope on to their children and extended family and community. Today, our programs for both men and women are helping to introduce the love Christ to the imprisoned. It is helping to open up new thought processes, growing the body of believers, and with the work of the Holy Spirit, transform communities. Both Malachi Dad’s and Hannah’s Gift offer the prosperity story that is achieved by a life in Christ. Although our students are behind bars, they experience emotional healing and spiritual freedom as members of God’s family. And if you ever get a chance to attend a graduation event, most likely you will experience how God leads the prisoners in singing.
How does God feel about the incarcerated? In all their crimes, in all their baggage, in all their hurt, in all the pain they have caused, and in all their sin; He loves them. Just as He loves you and me.