I wanted to respond to the wonderful article in the Sunday, June 20th Father’s Day issue of the ACT. The article was written by Rick Jervis and it told the story of inmates reuniting with their children in Angola, Louisiana. I want to state at the outset that I am using the word sin in its original Greek context and meaning which is
missing the mark. In other words sin defined as a mistake. I will grant you that some mistakes are more terrible and heinous and others, and being human we all make them. According to Jervis, 1.7 million children have a parent in the prison system, according to The Bureau of Justice Statistics. . When our children repeat the offender behavior of their parents and are incarcerated as well, “the sins of the fathers are indeed past on from generation to generation”. Angola and other prisons across the nation are sponsoring two programs to reconnect prison dads with their children. Of course good behavior is crucial for the inmate to even qualify but the healing effects of being reunited with the children appear to be nothing short of remarkable. As warden Burl Cain states, “Prison didn’t straighten them out; their kids did. I, for one, love the idea Burl Cain is promoting.
For many years our prisons and school system promoted the idea that time was more important than the job to be done. That is to say that if you served your jail time but still were not rehabilitated you were still released, sometimes more angry and criminally shrewder than when you were initially incarcerated. Kids as well faced the same attitude in our school system. Children mature at different levels in their process. Yet,i f you have not mastered mathematics in the time allotted, you have failed mathematics. Time is more important than the job to be done!
Who was it that stated the Kingdom of Heaven is like a little child? This past Father’s Day a congregant spoke to our church briefly regarding the parable of The Prodical Son. The difference was that she told the story from the father’s point of view. In her exegesis, the father was delighted to have a second chance to be a father to his son. At times life is about second chances. He or she who is without “sin” may cast the first stone!