Since I’ve become a Christian I’ve realised that we are all brought up in a ‘fallen world’. What I mean by this is that the world today is not as God intended it to be when he first created it. It has been infiltrated by evil and has become like a madhouse full of injustices, scandals, pain and wickedness.
Sadly it is among all this mess that each of us are brought up to discover that ‘life is just not fair’. How often have you said that to yourself, or others – ‘Life’s not fair’
So throughout our childhood experiences that depend such a lot upon who are parents are, the colour of our skin, whether or not we are an only child or perhaps the youngest of a handful, whatever; we become what I’m calling ‘damaged goods’. Some of us are more damaged than others but, never the less; we have all become damaged in some way or other during our early years.
Sometime ago I watched the comedian Freddie Starr on a TV chat show. He told a story of when he was a young boy and how his father had lifted him up and stood him on a table. His father took a step back and invited Freddie to jump into his arms, but when he did so his father quickly stepped to one side and let him fall flat on his face and then, looking down at him with a grin on his face, said ‘never trust anybody son’. My goodness! what a way for a father to teach something that is not even true.
But you know, just as damaging in our upbringing can be the things that are said to us about ourselves, the labels that others put upon us. We’ve all heard the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’ but we need to understand that it’s a lie, one of the biggest lies ever. Names certainly do hurt, especially when we’re young and still unsure of ourselves.
You who are listening think on this statement for a moment - ‘nearly everything you know about yourself was first told you by somebody else, you believed them, accepted what they said about you and then used that information to form an opinion about yourself’. That's important enough to read over again because what you probably didn’t know at the time was that whoever was speaking to you was probably just as broken and damaged inside themselves as you are today. So they were more than likely wrong in what they said and yet - you believed them and then used that information to build up a false picture inside your head of who you think you are, what you’re capable of doing and, just as importantly, what you will always be a failure at.
The good news I’ve got for you is that you don’t have to stay that way. Maybe some of you have read the books written by the likes of Nicky Cruz, Jimmy Rice, Frank Constantino and others – they tell of how bad they used to be and how with God’s help they changed on the inside into the people they are today. I haven’t the space to write more about here but I’m sure your Prison Chaplain will supply you with their books if you ask.
So you see it really is possible to change from who we are now, it is possible for the damage that has been done to be repaired – but we can’t do it on our own – that would be like asking a faulty computer to fix itself! No - we can’t do it alone, but Jesus can - and he never turns anybody away who asks for help.
There is a verse in the Bible that promises this – ‘When someone becomes a Christian they become a brand new person inside. They are not the same anymore. A new life has begun’.
So before I finish I want to say again – Yes, we are all ‘damaged goods’ but, thank God, we need not remain that way. Certainly we can choose to remain the way that the world has moulded us, because nobody can force anybody to change if they don’t want to. Locking people away in prison has never succeeded in changing people for the better and Jesus certainly won’t take away the free will he has given everybody. But the good news is that we can be changed on the inside by asking him to help.
So if you reader want to start to changing please open your hearts now as I close with this prayer.
Dear Lord Jesus, many of those who read this have been living lives as ‘damaged goods’ for far to long. Some have hearts that are very tender because they have been broken by the circumstances they have been through. I ask that you send your Holy Spirit with your gentle healing grace to start to repair the damage that has been done. Love them Lord from the inside out as only you can. Amen.
Contents are © Copyright 2006 Ken Mainey
Taken from www.jesuslovesprisoners.co.uk or www.jesusrenewsprisoners.co.uk