A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Ministry to Abuse Victims is True Prison Ministry

Hebrews 13:3, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

Prison and jail ministries are common among Christians.  And they can be a very good thing.  Prisoners have found Christ in their confinement.

But the prison ministry spoken of in Scripture is different.  It isn’t really a ministry to the likes of the two thieves beside Jesus.  When the Bible speaks of prison ministry, it is talking about ministry to Christians who have been locked up for their profession of Christ.  And so you have -

Colossians 4:18, “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.”

Matthew 25:36, “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

Hebrews 10:34, “For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.”

Today, while there might be an occasional prisoner in this country who is in prison for his profession of Christ, it just isn’t common (though in other parts of the world it is very real).  What is common here, however, is the prison of abuse.  Abuse victims are in prison.  They will tell you so.  Just listen to their stories.  Isolation.  Shame.  Economic deprivation.  Their warden is their abuser.  Abuse is a prison.  There is no freedom.  Their every movement is often monitored and controlled.

So, when we minister to abuse victims, we are fulfilling our Lord’s command that we remember those who are in prison.  And we do it with a spirit of being in that prison with them.  We are all one body.  One part suffers, everyone suffers.

And therefore, it is well past time for churches to start real, biblical prison ministries.  And here is a really great thing about this kind of jail ministry – we can actually spring the prisoner out and set them free.

7 Comments

  1. Your communications are so powerful. Thank you for opening my mind to this problem.
    i read the Lundy book years ago and it had a similar effect upon me. You are shining a light into dark places.
    Shalom X 1000,
    Jeff

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you much for the encouragement. We are very glad that the articles are helping open eyes.

  2. Thanks for this post. . I never thought of prison ministry as primarily being about visiting BELIEVERS who are in prison. Just goes to show how I’d accepted a tradition unthinkingly. You’ve opened my eyes.
    And yes, abuse victims are certainly in prison.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Ministry to prisoners in prisons and jails has its place and can be a true calling for someone. BUT, I have found that many Christians who volunteer for such ministries (or for ministry in, say, a Rescue Mission), can be incredibly naive and thus subject to manipulation and deception by masters of the “con.” I have preached in both settings and every time received warm greetings from the people who came. So it can make you think that you are really being effective and these people are truly thankful. Reality is that very few are genuine and we must be aware of that.

      However, when ministering to abuse victims who are in the prison of their abuser – what a difference!! The large majority of these prisoners are absolutely genuine. The difference is between ministry to inmates in a state prison and prisoners in a POW camp.

  3. Sharing and praying.

Trackbacks

  1. Pastor Jeff Crippen Has Been Sending Helpful Information To Victims Of Domestic Violence. | Online Christian Resources

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