Saturday, April 11, 2015

Re-Post: "With Music in Prison..."

Do you listen to the radio much anymore? 
I do. Almost daily I get a generous helping of “Christian” music. 
You see, I have grown weary of the music and lyrics 
that separate me more from God, 
rather than bringing me closer to Him. 
However I still enjoy most types: 
classical, rock, country, opera, techno, 
R&B, some hip-hop, and even a little rap and Top-40. 
But for me, Christian music brings me more hope through the lyrics.

When I hear the Newsboys song, “I Am Free”, 
I am reminded of the encouragement it gave me while incarcerated - to continue the ‘good fight’. 
I am free to worship, and free to love - especially my fellow man, 
even if those nearest me were hardened, mean, angry, foul-smelling, lost, and mostly... fearful. 
I am free to act and behave other than those same ways. 
Free to enjoy salvation through Christ’s death on the cross, even while serving my sentence.

The two stations I could ‘receive’ best were AirOne, and KLove, 
providing some of the most helpful ways for me to think outside of myself, 
and to focus on Christ, and how He was helping other people in the world. 

The word most fitting here is “inspiring”, 
as I listened to the stories of others who had overcome hardship and adversity. 
This is what I needed, someone else to identify with, 
even if I would never come to know them. 
But they called on Jesus to save them, 
and now their lives are different.

Since my release I have heard a few people complain about christian radio 
and some of the performers I came to enjoy, 
because they have become “too commercial”. 
So I must admit than when an artist like Matthew West steps into a prison to perform, 
and more so - agrees to enter the solitary confinement area to do so, 
I want to support his music. 
Not because he asked, but because he was willing. 
He set aside his own fears long enough 
to consider how God could possibly use him to reach others.

Now consider this: can you, your organization, or your church, 
find some funds to donate enough money for a few radios at the local prison? 
And while no one can guarantee the inmates will listen to Christian music, 
perhaps adding a list of some local Christian stations could be the help they need to start.

Think of it this way... if all you hear everyday is that your a criminal, 
that you will never change, 
that life is tough and no one cares about you, 
that you must be tougher than the next person, 
and that everyone is out to get you, 
then eventually you will begin to believe the lies. 

Now what if you could change the music-station ‘playing’ in your own head 
to one that encourages hope, 
shares words of inspiration, 
and gives people a glimpse of others in the world 
who may be willing to come alongside to assist and care.

Do your actions and words help to heal wounds and comfort the suffering?

Do you give yourself freedom enough to love others who may not deserve it?

"Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free, then discovering the prisoner was you."

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