#194 Prison talk: waiver NOT

May 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Prison Talk: Waiver NOT

It’s just after 10:30 this morning as I sit here with a Coca Cola…

(not intended to promote it, it just takes GREAT)

And when I got up this morning, I was trying to think about what to blog about. To be sure, there are tons of things I could blog, and if not, I can always go back and put up some retro blogs. But late last night when I was trying to think of something to blog, I kinda felt myself saying, “don’t worry about what to blog”.

Now this is important because I mentioned a few years ago that when I blog, I try not to force a post up here. Its very hard to write so many pages if you are forcing yourself to the computer, but I found that it is almost effortless to blog when the idea comes to you. Almost all my writings were done at the moment I sat down…I very rarely think out what I am going to say to you guys, it just kinda hits me, and I go with it.

So it seems that if I am going to do this, I might as well be led in what to write, rather than thinking I am smart enough to tell you about stuff. Hey, after all, I never desired to write prison blogs anyway, so carnally speaking, I would not want to spend another minute here anyway. But if you can understand this…spiritually I DO want to help, because I believe I can make a difference.

That does not mean my flesh does not care, because certainly I do care about you, but it is often too easy for us to lean to the negatives, rather than the positives. Most reality tv shows are, for example, based on showing you the ignorant and foolish sides of man, so that the viewer can look at them and laugh at them and call them fools.

(note, not all reality shows are like that…but most are).

We as people seem to gravitate toward drama and negative thinking rather than being positive and encouraging. Heck, even Food Network, a channel I am watching less and less now, is going that route. They used to have great shows on, that display great talent and wonderful meals, now with all these “Challenges” they are trying to show you the negatives of professional chefs, so the viewer can find pleasure in their tribulations.

We all do it from time to time, but the level of which you accept actually starts to make up your ability to waiver off your faith or fear. You can’t hold both in your hand, you must accept one, and drop the other when you are in certain situations.

We all have things we do that are negative, but we all believe in better solutions. But when times come to make a decision on where we stand, we have to be very careful not to waiver. This is important because you are quite literally, choosing faith or fear, the flesh (fear) or God (faith).

Anyway, today I check my email, and I get some messages from some readers. My plan today was to print out some of my books, cards and certificates, since I have people requesting them, and maybe to blog if the opportunity arises.

As I was checking one of my emails, I was reading where a person was telling me that she was having a hard time trying to hang in there. She read some of my blogs, and in fact received my free prison encouragement certificate, and she told me they were very good. She truly felt that it would be of a great help to her loved ones.

But she also told me that over the past few days, she talked to a couple of Correctional Officers at a prison, and was discouraged at the intel they shared with her about life after prison for an inmate. The officers told her how tough prison was, how hard it will be to get a decent job after prison, and how many inmates end up coming back anyway. With these facts, she found herself kinda stressed and depressed about the future for her loved one, and wondered if there really is hope?

I read that and it was like somebody slapped the back of my head, saying, “there is your blog today”.

Well…not REALLY slapped the back of my head, but you get my point….

Right there I knew that this was today’s blog, because I am going right after that issue. We’re going to talk about that, so we can put some faith BACK in that person, and counter the negatives with some positives. But in the end, what this comes down to is that you cannot waiver in your faith.

Folks…DO NOT WAIVER!

Now let’s make some foundations here, first, lets all agree that I don’t have a halo around my head, ok? I didn’t descend from the mountaintop, and I am not perfect, but I do know a little about faith because like you, I have experienced some myself. Let’s also agree that we’re not talking about the top 25 most faithful people in the world. You don’t have to have a truckload of faith to make things happen…you simply need faith.

And third, we have to acknowledge that what the correctional officers said to her IS indeed true…because it is. I mean, from what she mentioned, there is no denying that three things (at least) are very true:

1. Prison is very hard.

2. It is hard for ex felons to get a decent job after doing time.

3. Many ex felons end up going back to prison.

If I said any of those were not true, I would be a liar. So in saying that, I have to concede that what those officers said to her is indeed true. But the problem with those statements is that, like most human statements of fact…can be misleading and misapplied.

Case in point, let’s talk sports for a second.

LeBron James is considered to many people in the basketball world as one of the greatest players in the last decade (although he has not played 10 years yet). This is based on the fact that he has won the Most Valuable Player twice in a row, has taken his team (Cleveland Cavaliers) to the NBA Championship game, and this year lead his team to the best record in the NBA. He’s on a very short list of GREAT players playing today, and many put him on the list as being on a long list of one of the greatest in the last 10 years.

But at the same time, one can argue the same idea that he may NOT be one of the greatest in the last decade, since great players in sports almost always include championship rings…of which Lebron has NONE. For all his great works and talents, he has not been able to win the NBA Championship for his team, and in fact his team just got bounced out of the playoffs, sparking a huge debate of whether he will even stay in Cleveland or go elsewhere. Great players win championships…and to this point, Lebron has none.

You see how the perspective changes the facts? It is true Lebron James won the MVP two years in a row…that is great. But he also failed to win a NBA Championship, which in turn diminishes his greatness. Both are true, but which one do you embrace?

The same is true with the situation with prison. The person who emailed me on this was encouraged by the blogs and my certificates, but was “brought to reality” by correctional officers who told her that sadly, most inmates are doomed to failure… and she worries if this includes her loved one.

We have to find a way to deflect those negative darts, and bring her back into encouragement, so she can be a constructive and positive help to her loved one. But is that possible if indeed prison is hard, that jobs are very hard for ex felons, and many end up going back to prison?

A daunting task…but these are the times you cannot waiver. When you are hit with the reality of prison, also remember that there is also a reality of hope, and faith… and God.

Again folks, this is not just about the most faithful people in the world…this applies to anybody willing to look at the positives, rather than embracing the negatives. This is for those willing to look for faith, rather than fear.

What those correctional officers gave, perhaps without even knowing, was fear. Anybody can find a negative to a situation, and often times we feel obligated to tell others the worst, rather than giving them hope. Its like when somebody wins $100,00,000, and you hear people say, “wow, that’s a lot in taxes”…

WHO CARES! Pay the taxes and reap the MILLIONS you didn’t have the day before!

We are so conditioned to look for negatives, even in the midst of faith. If you are going to get your loved ones through this, YOU have to establish some faith. Now, does this mean it dispels the negatives, absolutely not. Just because you have faith does not mean the negatives don’t exist, if that were so, you would not need faith anyway!

If you are driving to work on a tank full of gas, and your job is 10 miles away, you don’t need faith to get there, because there is no negative thought of running out of gas. You understand what I am saying here folks?

Faith is the substance of what you HOPE for, and we hope against a negative situation. Having faith for a loved one in prison does not mean that the negatives of prison don’t exist. They DO, but we are hoping to OVERCOME those obstacles.

But you have a choice to make, do you believe you can overcome, or that the obstacles are too great for even God to negotiate? When you are applying faith, you simply cannot waiver.

This is the problem with many types of info we share, most is based on a negative end, not really designed to HELP, but simply to inform. Many prison support sites are so full of negative words that it is dripping of fear. So many people miss the idea that prison support sites are supposed to HELP, but they slap up so many posts about venting, and people in panic mode and fear that the site starts to take on a whole different vision rather than having faith to help one another.

When I did time, I knew a lot of correctional officers that were negative, some were pretty cool, and others were pretty neutral. But you have to understand where some of these guys come from (guys and women, since women do work as Cos too). When you are surrounded for 8 hours a day by inmates, it WILL have an effect on their view on inmates in general. Its funny because so many people ask me if inmates change while in prison…absolutely, but so do those regular citizens who work in there. Their outlook on life for the inmate becomes more and more dim, because to them, their workplace is full of the condemned.

Think about that…you work as an officer in a prison for 6 months, and see if your view of ex felons changes from hopeful to negative. Work there 6 years and see how you feel. These officers and guards are around the condemned of society far longer than you want to be. You might feel a little of that tension and stress if you ever visited your loved one during visitation, but that is only for an hour or so. Imagine an officer being around these guys 8 hours a day…every day, for months.

For that reason, I can see how the guards in prison develop a mentality of how inmates and ex felons are doomed. In their professional eyes, this is all they see, so in truth how can we say they are wrong?

But I AM saying they are wrong, because it is not the total picture. No man can speak for every inmate or ex felon that has ever been in prison…NONE. That means the “facts” that those officers gave that reader are NOT accurate. The implications they gave to her, in their professional opinion…were not as accurate as they would say. And I charge those guys with the attempt to destroy her faith, because nowhere in their conversation with her (as far as I know) did they even give her hope for her loved ones.

Even if we can agree that prison is hard, I can tell you that it is not impossible…heck, I got through it, didn’t I?

Even if we can agree that getting a job after prison is very hard, we can argue that as long as a person has his freedom, he can find…or START his own business…heck, that’s what I am trying to do.

Even if we can agree that many ex felons end up back in prison, I can counter that not every ex felon goes back to prison. We know that to be true, so it means that many ex felons find a good life, a better life, and move on, after doing their time and serving their debt to society.

But you cannot waiver on what you are believing for, once you make your stand, do not let other people steer you in the other direction. Now, this is not saying that those officers intentionally meant to destroy her faith, not at all. Sometimes when you are conditioned in what you see, you speak only from what you know. While I cannot blame the officers for saying what they said, I can blame them for lack of compassion. When you refuse to give a person hope, you are attacking their faith, whether you know it or not.

And that’s the problem with people who “speak their mind”, they think they are talking out of wisdom, but they are not. They speak only out of emotion, which almost ALWAYS goes the wrong way. When you speak out of fear, anger, stress or anything negative, you cannot possibly be uplifting anyone, or bringing encouragement.

But when you speak more spiritual, or more according to what faith is about, you make a stand to believe against the negatives. When you do…you cannot slip back to what other people say. You simply must not waiver.

You have to decide in WHOM you are placing more trust…in man or in God?

If you choose to believe what the correctional officers say, then you are putting more trust in them than God. Now again, this does not mean what the officers are saying is not true, there clearly is a lot of truth in what they say…but remember that it is based on what they see. Compare that to what God sees when you have a minute….

So how can we put some faith back in this person? Well, lets start with this:

Proverbs 1:33 “But whoso hearkens unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”

The word “hearken” means “to listen”. In that scripture we know it is talking about listening to God. Consider that for a second…when you have a loved one in prison, and if you are worried about him, what are you listening to? WHO are you listening to? The one you give place to is the one you listen to the most, and the one you place the greater value. And that result will show in your heart, and what you believe.

This does not mean you won’t ever feel worried if you hear bad news, even the best of us get worried because we are human. But we have to overcome that with words of faith. The scripture says that if you listen to God, you will dwell safely, and be quiet from the fear of evil. There seems to be a promise and reward that God is giving to those who hearken to Him…but you have to hearken to HIM, not correctional officers who only know a small fraction of the picture.

Think about that…who knows more about your loved one to help him…a correctional officer who has worked in prison for 20 years…or God?

Hmmm, tough choice, huh? That’s a lot of years to be around inmates, and God has never worked for DOC….

A second scripture I can share comes from Proverbs too:

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path.”

What we are trying to do is pry you from putting faith in the flesh, or the wisdom of man, which is extremely limited, and get you in an area where you can put a little faith in God for that which you are hoping for. The proverb tells us to trust in God with you heart…

You get that…your HEART…why not your mind?

Because our mind is often flooded with facts and figures, much based on what we call “intelligence”. We give so much credit to smart people because we think they know so much…the irony is that they don’t know nearly as much as we think. But because we are talking about spiritual things, the flesh does not understand spiritual things and often rejects them.

This is why when an officer tell you how bad life can be for your loved one in prison, it can be tough because intellectually, it sounds right. Life IS hard for felons and ex felons…but there is another side to that, if you are willing to believe for it.

And so the verse tells us to trust in God with your heart, and to not put value in what you THINK you know. It warns us not to lean on our own understanding. This is critical because once we start thinking that we know about the situation, whether from our own deductions or from someone else, we start to lose trust in God, and start trusting the fear.

You can’t trust God and be depressed about the future of your loved one, it won’t work, and sooner or later you have to choose. Do you believe your loved one can do his time, get out of prison and find a great job…or even start a multi million dollar business?

Well…do you?

If you are worried about a loved one going to prison, is it possible to have faith that somehow, someway, God can work things out and your loved one won’t have to go to prison, and can make amends another way?

Well…do you?

If you are worried about your loved one in prison, and the fear of him getting in trouble, can you believe God can protect him while he is doing time, so that he can do his time as best as possible, while changing to a better person?

Well…do you?

To the carnal mind, this is foolishness. Criminals do bad, they go to jail, they get condemned, and they get whatever they deserve. You do the crime, you do the time. So any hope or faith or mercy to such people is just unrighteous….

But ask yourself this….is this what God said…or man?

If you are going to stand your ground, you have to make that decision daily. You cannot waiver when you are having faith. The rest of that verse tells us to acknowledge God in everything you do, and He will direct your path.

This is interesting because what this means is to continually stay on the path…lots of times I get people who read my stuff and are encouraged for awhile, but when they get around some negative people, or “people who keep it real”, they slip in their faith? Why? Because those people they talked to gave them negative and faithless seeds, and once they are in your heart, they start to grow.

Remember folks, trust GOD with all your heart, not man.

When you have a loved one in prison, it is important that you continually look for positive words, faithful words, to keep you encouraged. Its like watering your favorite plants. You don’t water them once every three weeks and expect them to grow nice and pretty. Faith is a continual process, and it is important that you continually do your best to trust in God, to not put the overall value on what man says, and to acknowledge God in everything you do.

This keeps God personally involved in your life, so that even when you slip, He can direct you in what to do. For example, if a mom out there is at her wits end, she might have been trying to pray and stay in faith, but the circumstances are just too great. But because she kept praying or trying to read scriptures, maybe God will direct her to visit a site online to give her hope…

Maybe mine….maybe somebody elses, but SOMEBODY that can give her a little help.

I think God is wise enough to know that even though we should read the Bible more often, He knows a lot of us aren’t nowhere near perfect, but He is willing to work with us if we keep Him in our life…in other words, to acknowledge Him in all we do. By doing that, He’ll find help for you when you need it.

And how about this one, from James 1:5-6

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraided not: and it shall be given him; But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

See folks those correctional officers gave this person some facts but they were all bad…now we have to counter with some facts that are good. But it is this point where you have to make a stand…who’s words are greater? Man or God?

The scripture says if you ask God for wisdom, He’ll give it to you, and he won’t upbraid you….which means to bring an offense or fault. Its like a person said on a faith CD I was listening to, God won’t say “yeah, you BETTER ask for some help, as sorry as YOU are…”

(I am quite sure God has a sense of humor….)

But the scripture says that God will give you plenty of wisdom and He won’t call you out on your faults….like man does. But in that same scripture is a warning…do NOT waver! It says to ask in faith and do not waver. If you are asking God for something, then stand your ground, and don’t be flip-flopping based on what somebody else told you.

When you make a decision to believe, don’t get suckered out of that good thing by listening to what somebody else has to say. Even if what they say sounds “real” if it has no encouragement, no faith, then it can (and often will) destroy your faith, and you will end up losing that which you were believing for. Sometimes folks, you simply gotta have child-like faith.

When I was in the 6th grade, I remember when my older brother and his class (in the 7th grade) went on a trip to Busch Gardens…

(for those that don’t know, Busch Gardens is a great amusement park, or THEME park as they call it)

They went on that trip, and we all thought they were going to have a great time, and ride the rides and everything. But a few of the older boys told us they weren’t going to ride anything, because they were going on a field class.

We didn’t believe that, but those guys were older…maybe what they said was true.. I mean, why would they lie? So we were wondering that day, while the 7th graders were at Busch Gardens….were they having fun, or was it just another field day?

When the buses came back to the school that evening, about 5pm, I was waiting to see my brother and his friends come out. When he got out, I asked him how many times he rode one of the popular roller-coasters…since the thought was that perhaps they didn’t get to ride any…

He shouted out, “FIVE TIMES!”

At that I looked immediately at the older boys and laughed at them. Apparently the trip to the park was exactly that…a trip of fun to a theme park.

And during that day I did wonder just a bit if they were really having fun. I never thought about the negatives until somebody else brought it up…I simply assumed that the best, and never had any worry or fear that they would not have fun…until somebody introduced the thought to me.

It works the same way with you faith folks. Once you get into an area of faith, you cannot allow others to inoculate or inject the fear into your belief. Remember, simply standing in faith does not mean you are immune from the ideas of fear or negative thoughts, but it means you CAN overcome them.

So to that reader who seems depressed about what she heard, don’t take hold of that. Find some scriptures if you can, or find reasons to stay encouraged. I wrote this blog in an effort to help some of you out, because I know how it is to get in faith, then to run into a wall of fear and doubt and negativity. Been there, like everybody else reading this.

And I am not immune from those thoughts either, but the idea is to fight them when they pop up. You don’t give in or give place to the negatives. You find somebody to talk to, someone with faith. Or, even if it isn’t a “faithful” person, at least find somebody positive. Heck, God can put positive words in anybody’s mouth to speak to you at a time you need it, you just have to keep an ear open for them.

I say to you guys, you can get through this, and even if it is a little rough, it is not impossible. You simply have to have faith, and not waver….

(oh my gosh, have I been spelling “waver” wrong…I’ve been spelling it “waiver”)

Oh well, I better go before I get a host of grammar teachers after me….but please do remember my books, cards and certificates, and if you want to support my blogs with a gift, please let me know…until then….

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Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#193 Top Prison Blogs, ch 1 #195 Lost posts on Prison talk; for mothers

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