My son, Josh, is in the last round of interviews for a criminal justice position in a nearby county. The final step before getting the job is a background check. They not only look at criminal records, but also at financial, family, and psychological factors. A few weeks ago an interviewer from the county came by to observe Josh’s family members, living situation, and neighborhood. Even the neighbors got a visit and were asked questions about Josh’s reputation.
At one point, the interviewer called me into a room and asked me a series of questions about Josh. The one that caused the most conversation was, “Do you have any reason to believe that Josh harbors anger, resentment, or prejudice toward those who have broken the law?”
I was able to answer completely to the contrary. Josh has gone into prison with me and worshipped the Savior alongside men in blue jump suits. He has helped those returning home from prison. He has shared fellowship with them, never thinking he was better than those who had served time.
Josh is an extraordinary young man, and Cathy and I couldn’t be prouder of him. I believe he’ll serve Jesus faithfully in a criminal justice career. And I pray that God would always grant me a heart like Josh’s—a heart that doesn’t make distinctions between me and “those other people,” a heart that serves prisoners with humility instead of pride, and with genuine love.
Love is not the absence of hatred or prejudice. That’s just apathy. Love is the presence of empathy, compassion, and warmth, lived out through action. Let’s all be willing to let God put His love for prisoners and their families in our hearts