Society has a mentality of locking criminals up and throwing away the key. Time served sitting in a cell does nothing to rehabilitate a person, except possibly make them more cautious about being caught in the future.
There is no room for doubt; getting drunk is a sin. Likewise, there is no getting around the fact that harming others is a sin. Also, we have laws enacted by our government that protect the rights of innocent people from being assaulted by people with no regard for the welfare of their fellow man and the saneness of a safe society.
I am not a bleeding-heart liberal who thinks people should be slapped on the wrist and allowed to continue harming others. But if a person has a mental illness or chemical addiction, spending time is prison simply locked away (without any treatment and counseling) only makes their condition worse. If they do indeed need to be locked away, we, as a Christian society, owe it to them to offer treatment, prayer and encouragement to seek healing.
I agree that violent offenders need to be removed from any opportunity to harm others. But an alcoholic drunken driver or a person who is a schizophrenic menace will still be an unchanged and unhelped alcoholic and a schizophrenic if not treated. Both of these conditions are incurable, but they are treatable.
Yes, God can heal! But if we lock people away and do not treat the root cause of their medical and moral conditions, we are contributing to the perpetuation of the reasons they were locked away.
(Please note: Not all people who are alcoholics and/or schizophrenics are in any way involved in criminal activity.)
Sadly, we, the Christian community, seem to have washed our hands of the ministry of reclaiming lives. What will we say to the Lord when He holds us accountable for our uncaring heart?
Prison ministries need to be financially supported, and Christians need to pray about becoming involved in them!
Rev. Jerry H. Miller
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