Day 15 Devotional & Discussion – March 21, 2014

Proverbs 17:15 (NIV)Hebrews 13:1-3 (NSRV)

Nationally, 306 wrongfully convicted inmates have been exonerated and released from prison across the country thanks DNA evidence.  In 1986, Bennie Starks was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.  DNA evidence proving his innocence was submitted to the courts in 2000.  Unbelievably, he was not exonerated and released until 2013, having served 27 years for the crime.

The writer of Hebrews entreats us to remember those in prison as if we were in prison with them.  Try to put yourself in Bennie Starks’ shoes (as if you were in prison with him).  What would you want people outside the prison to do?  What does “remembering those in prison” look like?  Hundreds of inmates have been on a hunger strike due to conditions throughout the nation.  Consider fasting all or part of today to “remember” and show solidarity with those who are in prison. 

The Innocence Project and the Northwestern University Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions are two organizations working to exonerate those who are wrongfully convicted. Their web sites include the stories of many men and women who were unjustly condemned and imprisoned.  Today, pray for those who are still awaiting exoneration while in prison and for those who are working to ensure that the innocent are released.

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3 comments

  1. That Proverbs verse is great. Pretty much summarizes the heart of the Lord on the issue, and what I have been wrestling with these last few weeks. I am very grateful for it’s balance, it’s focus on justice. The Hebrews passage is very picturesque. Another great reminder about those in prison, and even those undergoing torture. We’ve been watching 24 on Netflix, and there have been multiple storylines involving imprisonment and torture, raising tough questions. Is it right to torture one person if it might lead gaining information which could saves the lives of a million people? And here is a verse that reminds us that we should deeply identify with those being tortured, as if we were as well. I wonder if the writer of Hebrews had a specific group of prisoners in mind? He could have referred specifically to Christians who were being imprisoned or tortured for their faith in Christ. But he doesn’t say that, so it seems best to me to understand him as referring to anyone in prison or being tortured. And we are to deeply identify with them. I think most often I feel like prison is a scary place I want to steer clear of. I was really nervous before going to visit a guy in prison last year. It was my first time ever doing that. But once I visited him, my mind was changed. We were able to have a great conversation. I ended up seeing him again a few weeks later before he was released. I wish I had gotten started sooner. One of the churches in our ministerium has a prison ministry, where they regularly visit. We also have a local ministry called Transition to Community that helps prisoners make the adjustment to life outside the prison. Potters House is a place they can live and be discipled. Great ministries, both of them.

  2. Once again today, I participated in the prayer vigil at the Broadview Detention Center run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I was deeply moved as I listened to a young wife and mother of 2 children (US citizens) whose undocumented husband was detained by ICE and sent to a facility 6 hours south of Chicago. He could be deported at any time. He came to the US with his parents when he was 14 years old, and he has no relationships with people in his home country. Tears came to my eyes as I thought about what this family is going through. The children ask when daddy is coming home and their mother has no answer. I felt their torture as they await word of his status and their fear of an uncertain future. It was painful, but my heart became softer as a result. And I can’t stop thinking about and praying for them today.

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