The Old Is Gone, The New Has Come


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These days, the pervading attitude towards inmates and even those who struggle with drug addiction is more uncharitable than I ever remember in my life. It’s like all those people are lumped into one huge pile of subhuman specie. If you have a family member who is struggling with addiction secretly, this uncharitable attitude would probably make them think twice before coming to you for help. Especially since a lot of them die anyway, as collateral damage in a drug war that’s becoming increasingly violent. Admitting your addiction may even put your life at risk.

I was in the middle of a hiatus from the prison ministry when this drug war commenced. I was overwhelmed with work and could not fulfill my duties in the ministry properly. But day by day I see people talking about addicts and offenders as if they have forfeited their right to live. All this made me remember my sisters in Las Pinas City Jail so I broke my hiatus (even though there was no change in my workload) because I could not stop thinking about them. These days we have to hold our bible study at the main corridor of the female dorm because we don’t fit into the visiting area anymore. I welcome this problem though. It’s a happy kind of problem. Everybody is welcome.

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I realize how impossible it is to change the minds of people who are riding the wave of hate and violence. I cannot change the flow of the tide. I can only do my best to work with the inmates together with other people who are in the ministry with me, help them focus on the Word and remind them of how God sees them, instead of how the world sees them.

A lot of people say that nobody in jail will ever admit that they’re guilty, but that’s not true. A lot of people in my bible study group have owned up to their guilt, are quietly serving their prison sentences, and dealing with the regret of wasting so many years of their lives, aside from the years of incarceration that stretches ahead of them. Many of the inmates we work with are there because of drug-related charges. A lot have been there for years while still waiting for their first court appearance. While many may have been drug addicts, as you can see by the way years of drug use have ravaged their appearance, a lot are already in the process of waking up from the stupor. They’re realizing how they’ve damaged their lives, how they’ve hurt and alienated their family who now refuse to visit them. It’s like they’re waking up after a rampage and are only beginning to comprehend what they have done. Many have not seen their families for years and have endured…are continuing to endure incredible loneliness as part of their punishment. Prison is a dark place where people are soon forgotten.

Our bible lessons are always hopeful, helping them deal with the reality of their present as well as the possibilities of their future. As deep and dark as the pit may be, the light of Jesus still shines. And though the vast majority will treat them like vermin fit for extermination, we try to remind them of a simple truth:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

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5 thoughts on “The Old Is Gone, The New Has Come

  1. Julie Paradise says:

    Being in Germany I am far far away from what happens in your country, but there seem to be similar phenomena spreading acroos the globe, like a disease. Presidents or presidential candidates, politicians striving for power — or worse — being in charge already behave like there are no human rights, merciless and hateful speech and actions everywhere … and there is only so much everyone can do to remedy even just a little but how much hurt is out there. Sometimes it is hard not to lose faith (I am not religious, but I still need to have faith in the good, and optimism) and the will to go on.

    Do not let the hate eat you up! It must be possible to go back to a climate in society where not the worst and the loudest win.

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    • I know what you mean. It feels like the world is in so much pain right now. I guess it has always been like this, although we may feel like it’s getting worse. i sure hope for a better world. At least a more civilized if not a kinder one. For now we keep on working our corner of the garden, eh? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • KD says:

        I believe things are getting worse, as a result of a widespread failure of political leadership. I also believe it will be temporary, but shudder at the damage it is doing and will continue to do until this wretched trend has run its course.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. KD says:

    I can well imagine the heartsickness that this officially sanctioned hatred and violence must be causing you. Aside from the horror of seeing vigilantism unleashed by your president, there are all the other ways such moral failure contaminates society.
    I live in the U.S., and as you’re probably aware, we have a man running for president who would do the same and worse in this country if he wins. I have spent many hours imagining what my country would look like if he wins, and he is horrifically close to winning.
    Even if he’s defeated, the racism, anti-semitism, hatred of Muslims, and misogyny he has fertilized will leave the US damaged for decades. The violence has already started and will climb whether he wins or is defeated. As a white woman, I’m sickened and terrified on behalf of Latinas, African American women, Muslims women, and other minorities he has threatened.
    I feel for you, and admire your strength in supporting and bringing hope to those vulnerable women, victimized at least twice: by their circumstances and addiction, and then by a lawless president who would condemn them as human beings. If it’s any comfort at all, I’m sure every person you have ministered to is reinforced in their intrinsic decency, and their heart strengthened against the temporary storm of dehumanizing hatred now afflicting your country.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My thoughts are with you too in this upcoming election. You’re right, even if he doesn’t win, all those bad seeds he has sown has already done damage. Some people don’t understand the power of words, but one only needs to listen to people and hear in the thread of conversations that there’s something that has gone terribly awry with all this hate-slinging. I hope for the best for your country, as I do for mine.

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