"An Inside Perspective"

JUNE 2016

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Last month we recognized Mother's Day, which is a great day! Praise the Lord for our Mothers! I suggest that mothers are the Lord's most precious of all His creative endeavors, designed to flesh out and glorify the gentle nurturing heart of our Father; altogether lovely in every way!

During our service on Mother's Day morning, we chose to honor the memories of our mothers. As you know, our congregation consists of all men, redeemed rascals of every sort. Incarceration separates us from our families, and we are not able to honor our mothers as some would like to do. However, we try our best, using wise tact, because everyone here did not have the ideal mother. Sadly, men in prison, who have a good mother, are the exception to the rule.

For twenty-five years, and with great joy, I have lovingly counseled the brothers. I hear things unspeakable, as I quietly listen to their heart-rending stories of broken, hellish childhoods. They recall how they struggled to survive from one abuse to the next, and many times, at the hands of their own moms.

Some brothers here know nothing of a loving mother but only constant humiliation and degradation. Some of their mothers have worked the streets and some of the brothers have lived their entire lives demeaningly reminded that they themselves are the literal fruit of such. Those types of incidents have fostered a hatred that most of us cannot fathom. A few brothers have killed their own mothers, through extenuating circumstances, and now live with a remorse we know not of, and are in need of healing that only God can give. Mother's Day for them is a cruel mockery and a yearly reminder of their grievous deed. Alarmingly, others have known their first sexual encounter perpetrated by their mom! How do you suppose those boys grew up? These abominable circumstances do not excuse their crimes (sins) but it can explain a lot. It also helps us to understand why these men are where they are and the wellspring of their sin. This is where the rubber meets the ministry road—are you in?

In light of all this, we do not have an ordinary service for Mother’s Day, as you may have out on the streets—all joyful and lovey-dovey. Beloved, we are the other side of your coin. Nonetheless, we honor God's “ideal for motherhood,” which is all good. In that, is His creative purpose for our nurturing, and not what sin has grotesquely morphed some mothers into.

Yet, by the grace of God, there is a remnant here too. There are a few, such as myself, who have awesome mothers. Yes, joyful, loving, self-sacrificing, and now, wonderfully saved mothers who double as our sisters in Christ! Grace! Grace! Grace!

During the course of our service, some men chose to share a word about their mom before the congregation. One story that stood out to me this year was Brother Joel's. He loves his mother with all of his heart and you can hear it in his words. Like myself, he has a deep-seated regret that it took prison for him to “come to his senses” and become a man. We both live with the reality that we should now be providing, protecting, and caring for our mothers in their golden years, but as grown men, they are still caring for us. It is a self-baked humble pie with a very bitter taste.

Well, Joel stood before the men and shared his heart for his mom. He recounted a story that he said was a great memory for him. As a young man he always had ear problems. Ear wax would build up beyond his control. Eventually, it would become painful and he would flee to his mother, his only hope. He told of how she would gently take him in her arms and softly lay his head upon her lap. With tears streaming down his face, Joel shared how his Mom would then take a bobby pin from her hair, and ever so gently she would remove the wax from his ear one small piece at a time. Her motherly loving-kindness and her gentleness made such an impression on Joel at that young age, that now, 30 years later, he testifies with tears. He shared this openly in front of thoroughly “hardened” prisoners. Ironically, most of us are now thoroughly “softened” prisoners of Christ.

It is written, “ . . . I am gentle . . . how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens (chicks) under her wings, and ye would not!" (Mt. 11:29b; 23:37b)

As Joel stood transparent before the men, so must we stand boldly before the Lord. Young Christians may have sin problems and are doing unspeakable things. Maybe our sin build-up against our families, friends, or even our church, are in need of a healing that only God can give. Don't let the “wax of your sin” build up to the point of pain. If it has, flee to your Savior, who is your only Hope!

Your Father will ever so gently take you in His loving arms and lay your head softly upon His lap. He will take the cross, the “bobby pin of His love” and gently remove the sins of your heart, one small piece at a time; altogether lovely in every way!

His Fatherly loving-kindness and His gentleness remind us, that truly the love of a mother, springs from the heart of our Father in heaven. He will make such an impression on you that for all the days of your life you will testify of Christ with . . .