Why Does Prison Trump God?

When I was in prison I was always aghast at how many men who claimed to be Christian would ignore the teachings of Jesus as soon as a problem came up.  The best example I have was my friend Javier.  He loved the Church and you could see Christ at work in him, but one day someone went into his cell and stole his radio.  When he found out it was like he just switched off being Christian.  He got a shank and was going to kill the guy.  That may sound like a huge overreaction to you if you have never done time, so let me explain.  Prison works on a system of honor, though we would never call it that inside.  If you live up to a certain code, no one will mess with you, you are “down.”  But if you don’t you are a “girl” and you can expect to have to fight the rest of your time.  Part of that code is that you can’t let anyone take something from you.  Once you let one person mess you over, you are basically saying that anyone can.  In this particular case the guy who stole his radio was in a gang.  That makes it worse, because if he just lets it go he will have the whole gang taking advantage of him.  So   by prison standards he has to do something bad to this guy or he is in big trouble.

I found out about it before it happened and went to talk to him.  The one question I had for him was why does prison always trump God?  Jesus teaches us to love and pray for our enemies.  If you claim to be a follower of Christ why would you kill your enemy?

He didn’t kill the guy.  We compromised and set up a one-on-one fight.  He saved face without having to murder anyone.

What would you do?  Would you be able to live up the standards of Jesus, or would you do what the world wanted you to do, knowing that if you didn’t everything you had would be taken and you might well be beaten and raped?


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