Recently I was reading and reflecting on a passage from 1st Peter and a parallel image came so strongly in my mind and on my heart that I had to write it down. I have been in relationship with guys making the transition from inside institutions to back out into community and the challenges they face are significant. In this time of covid isolation, and complexity thrown into all life's systems, I hope and pray for all who are navigating change. This interpretation is for incarcerated brothers and sisters but as Peter wrote it, inspired by the God, has meaning for us all in some way. I encourage you to read both versions and listen for what the Spirit imparts to your heart.
1 Peter 2: 11-16 (prison context)
I encourage you, as inmates and parolees, to stop thinking about the things that broke you and your healthy relationships. Live such good lives among the guards and officers, that though they know your crimes, they will see how much you’ve changed and will congratulate your family and friends on the days they visit.
In order to make peace while in the system, submit to the people in power who are your gate keepers. Listen to the authorities, judges, officers, C.O.’s and P.O.’s. They are there to punish; but also to help and support. It is our Creators great plan, that by living in good relations in the moment, ignorance, fear and foolishness will die off.
With the release of your conviction, even though you are still inside or on conditions, live as free people. But do not forget or abuse that freedom when you get out. Separate yourself from former ways and people that try to drag you back into crime cycles. Live lives as if you are still inmates, but incarcerated to right relationships, chained to a harmony tree. Submit yourselves to sacrificial neighborly love of self, Creator and others.