July 24, 2017
Prison Tales – Tiffany
Tiffany doesn’t know I’m writing her prison tale, but I was praying for her today and I wanted to share her story. She was in my Bible study group on Saturday and she came with a very bad attitude. She hadn’t been to church in months because she didn’t like how those Christians acted. You know, the ones that say they are holier than thou, and then run around acting like children of the devil. We all know the ones. Wait, maybe we have all been that one at one point in our lives.
She expressed how she didn’t want to be a Christian because they are fakes. She honestly did not even know why she came to the service. It had been a year and a half since she had signed up for it, and her name finally got to the top of the list. You see, there is a waiting list for the small group time that we lead each month. Some ladies have been on the list for 2 years. They finally decided to rotate the names so we got an entirely new group of ladies for our small group. Some of them did not even know how their name got on the list. Possible a friend signed them up, or it had been so long ago that they did not even remember they signed up. Either way, Tiffany was there, maybe just to get some time out of the hot, sweaty dorms.
As she kept bringing up this point throughout our small group time, one of her friends jumped in to chastise her. It was humbling to watch one of her sisters in Christ tell her how much God had in store for her, and wanted to use her story, but couldn’t until she stopped worrying about everyone else’s salvation, and focused on who she was in Christ.
Small group ended, and we moved to our seats for all-call worship. The rest of the dorms came in for the worship service. I quickly grabbed a seat by Tiffany because I felt she needed a little more support at that time. The message was on the woman caught in adultery and how Jesus showed her grace.
One of the first quotes that Donna said was “Grace flows when we keep our eye on our own sin and not the sin of others. Judgement comes when we forget our sin and focus on the sins of others.”
Tiffany looked at me, and we both had that “wow God, that was for me” moment. The whole message was about giving grace to others. It was pretty amazing to see how personal the message became to her. And to me as well.
My word for the year has been “GIVE GRACE.” I fail miserably at it on a regular basis. It’s so much easier to pass judgement, than to give grace.
Can you imagine living with 300 women, and seeing them on a daily basis? You see their faults along with their victories. You remember their mistakes, even after they have overcome them. As a Christian, people are watching you, waiting for that mistake to be made, so they can say, “See, I told you she wasn’t a real Christian.”
This is the life these girls live. Standing firm in your faith is a difficult thing in prison, because there are so many people around you that aren’t like-minded. But what I try to get them to understand is that we all make mistakes. We all deserve judgement. We just don’t have 300 women watching our mistakes. They are easier for us to hide. But these mistakes are never hidden from God. So when we allow God to be the Judge, instead of taking it upon ourselves, real justice is served.