A WORD FOR “Filthy Rags,” A PRISON STUDY GROUP (a room filled with mostly ex gangsters who found God in a broken and harsh environment)

Hebrews 2:18 “Because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

As with all things…Jesus’ pattern is our example.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do when released. And I really want to be able to come back into prison to talk to men about God. I will have served between 30 and 50 years by the time I’m released–straight. I have been through all the violence, politics, fear, pain, humiliation that can be imagined, yet God called me in this place of brokenness. I believe that men like us listen to men like us and that when I return to prison, tattooed and hardened–yet free in the Lord!–with more than thirty years of time under my belt…well, I think that convicts will listen.

This was on my heart when I came across this Scripture in Hebrews, Chapter 2:18. In this verse and the preceding verses, we learn that Christ partook of the human experience. The genuineness of Christ’s humanity is demonstrated by the fact that he was subject to temptation. By experiencing temptation, Jesus became fully capable of understanding and sympathizing with his human brethren (cp. Heb. 4:15). He felt the full force of temptation. Though we often yield to temptation before we feel its full force, Jesus resisted temptation even when the greatest enticement for yielding had become evident (cp. Lk. 4:1-13).

Jesus understands temptation because he experienced it and triumphed over it. As a result of experiencing the struggles Himself, Jesus is able to help those who are currently engaged in the struggles. And like Jesus, our supreme example, we too, who have experienced struggles and overcome them, are able (are duty-bound, in fact) to help others overcome as well.

We have been given a clear example and a grave responsibility–and that is to share with others our experiences and tell them about the tools we used to conquer, about the power of having God Almighty in our corners, and His holy guidebook in our hands.

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