February 17, 2010

The Trouble With Redemption

Redemption, by vague definition, is something that most of us struggle with. The literal definition of the word implies, “the act, process, or an instance of redeeming.” Redemption is also the literal birthplace of the word, “ransom,” which is “a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity.” The reason we all struggle with redemption is that none of us are very good at it, much less recognizing our absolute need for it. We rarely find ourselves in a position that requires our being set free from captivity (or so, in our ignorance, we may think).

I volunteered with a prison ministry back when I was in college. My involvement included serving as a co-leader for taking groups from our school on weekend trips into prisons, mostly throughout Texas. I always loved prison ministry because it reminded me of my past, growing up as a missionary kid in South America. I visited four prisons down south as part of a drug rehabilitation program I was required to take part in. I can clearly tell you of the incredibly humble, and usually honest definition, that these inmates would give for their ransom. I still don’t think I’ve ever met Jesus-followers living such humility and peace as some of the prisoners I’ve met over the years. The vast majority didn’t just need someone to redeem them from the captivity of barbed-wire fences, patrol outposts, prison guards, mess hall fights, prison gangs, and black-iron bars. They required a heart redemption that would release them from years of soul darkness into the beautiful mercies only found in Christ Jesus.

Finish reading the full blog on the Ransom site.


Chris Donato said...

Having the pleasure of sharing those exact memories, Chad, I too remember the depth of those inmates' faith. They truly knew what it meant to be dead and then brought to life—only to die to self again.

Maybe our trouble with redemption is that, like everything else in this culture of ours, it comes "too easy"? We want a Christ with none of his commandments.

Joel Spencer said...

It's no wonder so many inmates truly find Christ (as do those in hospitals and other "odd" circumstances). I'm throughly convinced that when we're taken out of our normalcies of life, and the restrictions that we implement that hinder our spiritual growth, change has the opportunity to sprout and grow.

Redemption must be given a starting point. Praise God that He took this heart of stone and exchanged it for one that can feel and dwell intimately with Him.