Why Would They Think That?

Posted on by Bonnie Rodriguez

On Easter Sunday, we were in jail.

Well, not jail - a long-term residential facility for Level 6 offenders.  We were there with Riverside Baptist church, serving a (very tasty) breakfast and talking about Easter.  Before Izzy, one of our YFC volunteers, got up to share the Gospel, two boys spoke about how God had changed their lives in the last few months.  One admitted, "I was a menace to society...."

Another, after him, declared, "I was a child of Satan..."

Now, while both had positive things to say about their new attitudes, God’s power, and news goals, our team couldn't help ask, “Why would they think that about themselves?”

If the Psalms are true, these boys were "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139). They were born with purpose (Jeremiah 29:11).  They were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

Someone, somewhere along the way, told them something else.  Perhaps it was an angry neighbor, overwhelmed by their unruly behavior.  Maybe it was a teacher who had been crossed one-too-many times that day.  Or it could have been an exhausted parent, aunt, or uncle.

We were again reminded why our mission is so important.  When we sit across from a kid, we are not only sharing the hope of Christ’s life with him or her, we are sharing our belief that they were born with purpose.  We are telling them they are deeply loved and valued whether they have done anything to deserve it.  We are speaking the truth that their life, heart and mind do not need to be defined by their mistakes because of Christ. 

And we are not only ministering to them while they are in the program.  We are striving to follow them as they transition back into their neighborhoods, like Cameron in the picture above. Cameron thought his life was over, but now feels “pushed to his limits,” since he has stayed connected to his mentor who daily reminds him that God is with him and that God has a plan for his life. 

On that Sunday, 7 boys raised their hands to say they wanted to start over, following Jesus as their Savior.  They wanted to accept the promises God has given them through His Son!  Now, all seven are in a discipleship class, learning what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  That's what Easter is all about - trading in death for life, darkness for light, despair for hope.  It's a message kids all over Miami need to hear.  

-ELY VIMONSUT, JUVENILE JUSTICE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

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