I read a comment recently that I really took to heart. It said, “Privilege is when you don’t think something is a problem because it’s not YOUR problem.” Well, guess what? Oftentimes, those very societal woes that we think are not our problem really are, maybe not directly, but for sure indirectly. Here’s an example: if someone is incarcerated , serves their time, gets out of prison, and can’t find a job, can’t vote, can’t get housing or an education, what’s that person going to do? He or she more than likely will return to the very lifestyle that got them in jail in the first place. So why does that matter to me?
Well, perhaps I should put it another way, why does that matter to God? I’d have to say that to God every life matters, and if we’re supposed to be like Jesus, then every life should matter to us, too. That person who has difficulty re-entering society can no longer contribute in ways that benefit all of us. There are social and economic consequences, collateral consequences, that affect each of us. There’s public safety, unemployment, poverty, increase in crime and an overall demoralization that happens when we turn away from the formerly incarcerated and place undue restrictions on their new lives making legitimate employment very difficult. How can we expect them to do well if we prohibit so much of what they can do with their lives after leaving prison? Don’t we want every person on this planet to fulfill his or her purpose in life?
Once again, we’re talking about a subject that has no easy answers, but what I want to communicate to you is that we need to be informed as Christians and involved in helping solve so much of what is plaguing our country through social injustices and the need for reform. God can do this; but are we willing to do our part? Sometimes that might mean simply praying for reform. Sometimes it might mean getting involved more deeply. God’s word tells us to speak up and defend the rights of the poor and needy, the destitute. I guess that’s a challenge for each of us.