Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

prisoners in the eyes of God




It is interesting how our concept of a prisoner is so two sided. On the one hand we view those who we think have been properly condemned for a crime as an unredeemable miscreant who justly deserves to be scorned. On the other hand, we see others, who have been imprisoned, as people who were wrongly persecuted by powerful but evil forces. Thus a prisoners can be either a bad person unworthy of our respect or a good person who is elevated in our esteem because of undue suffering, often because in our view they were punished for opposing oppression.


Interestingly, in Matthew 25 with Jesus' account of the great judgment, how those being judged treated prisoners was a factor in the outcome of that judgment. How one treated  other in need or strangers (those not of our partisan group) or prisoners turned out to be measure by which some were deemed blessed of the Father. Do we assume that the prisoners in this account were only those wrongly imprisoned in our eyes, or does "prisoner" have a broader reach?


As Christians we might want to consider this question very seriously. In our society there is a great tendency to revile any who have committed crimes, considering their fate and wellbeing to be of little or no concern to good citizens, including the average church member. In fact, many see a divine mandate to persecute those who have been imprisoned and never give them a second thought, except to condemn and eternally ostracize them.


In a very real sense, Jesus considered all of us to be prisoners, imprisoned by erroneous assumptions and attitudes about our God relationship and our connection to one another as human beings. Jesus came to set mankind free from such thinking. We won't ever be free though, as long as we relish imprisoning others.  It's one thing to regretfully segregate the egregiously harmful from society and another to glory in hammering ever malefactor like we ourselves are so perfectly righteous.