To view all inmates as humans, or all humans as inmates…

 Or maybe…. we are all both, inmate and human.

What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be an inmate?

Inmates are forced to give up their human rights when coming to prison, often creating a self outlook that they are less than human. That the world would be better without them. That they don’t deserve to run free. That they are broken. That their worth is defined by the cuffs around their wrists and the label on their shirt… “Inmate”

Without even realizing it they will become comfortable in that new identity of being worth nothing, even though their insides are being ripped apart by their own clawing for meaning, purpose, and hope…

Because though they wear the “Inmate” label, though they can be treated like animals at times, they never stopped being human. At the core (even though for some of them it’s deep deep DEEP down there) they still need to feel safe, they still long for love and affection, they still feel emotions, they long to belong somewhere, to have a purpose.

I think we are all inmates. We are imprisoned by what I call the “human condition,” which is our lack of perfection. The parts of us that are broken, selfish, and undeserving of freedom. Or in short, the parts of our humanness that cause us to sin.  

Jesus once said “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34). And it’s true, I have not met one person who is perfect. We all are a slave to sin. We are all imprisoned by the human condition. We are all broken.

And at the same time, we all long to rise above the brokenness and have meaning, purpose, and hope…

We are all both, inmate and human.

But neither of those labels defines our freedom. I have met inmates more free than humans, and humans more imprisoned than inmates, and there is usually a common theme… the inmates here that feel more free than some humans out there almost always believe in Jesus.

Right after Jesus told of how everyone who sins is a slave to sin he says this:

“Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

He is referring to himself, the son of God.

“Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8: 2

We are all both, inmate and human, but though that will always be apart of our nature here on Earth, those labels do not have to define our freedom or our identity. It’s crazy the change and freedom that can come when you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior.

“You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8:32

So if you have never heard about this truth, or accepted this truth, but understand what I mean when I say we are all broken and are seeking freedom… then I encourage you to explore it (:

1 thought on “To view all inmates as humans, or all humans as inmates…”

  1. Hi there filledlyfe,
    I’m happy to hear the over flow of your “filledlyfe” (Psalm 23:1-2) and allowing the overflow of God’s blessings spill out on to us. For that we thank you. It’s an interesting concept you present. One quote that came to mind reading this is from Star Wars Rogue One by Chirrut (Bruce Lee’s former trainer in real life). It’s in the scene where (coincidently) they are in prison. Four guys in one cell, two of them knowing about “the force” (we can say it’s an extra fantasized version of the holy spirit). There’s a hardened heart disagreement where the Chirrut, through “the force”, sees discontentment in the man he disagreed with (guilt and ‘rebel’ mentality). Chirrut before leaving the cell states “there is more than one prison. I think you carry yours wherever you go.” Many people not in prison feel imprisoned in their own minds. We can say suicide is an attempt to escape it…Some try to free themselves with the lavish things the world has to offer. I’m not saying they are bad, they’re just not the key
    I feel that image comes to life in your reality working with free- inmates (who know Christ) and inmate-inmates. Even inmate-free, coworkers among you who might not feel free. I can only imagine how slaves in history came to know the Lord and sang praises during hard times or even Philemon in scripture. They’re faith only strengthen others faith and a testimony to those who aren’t free, yet. We choose to be a slave to sin (or fear…good song) or to Christ.
    God is good.


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