I went to jail today.
Wait---don't get carried away. I was there to do something good! I am in the beginning stages of working with a program that is designed to encourage inmates to turn their lives around.
Let me tell you something... it ain't fun hearing those steel doors close and lock behind you. Even when you know you are going to be able to leave whenever you want.
I've had the opportunity to meet some inmates . Most of the ones I've met are quiet and friendly. None have said, "I don't belong here." All the ones I've met have said to me, "I messed up."
"Guess what?" I want to tell them. "So have I." Not in the way that these inmates have messed up. But, I've messed up on the job. I've messed up at home. I've messed up in relationships.
In today's chapel moment--- yes, even in a jail you can find a chapel moment---I find that I am so grateful that my Christian faith teaches me that a mess-up doesn't have to last forever. I'm glad that my faith teaches forgiveness and grace. I'm glad that my faith causes me to know that our tomorrows can be so much better than our yesterdays. I'm glad that my faith tells me that if we truly want to change, we can. And, I'm glad that my faith tells me that we don't have to go it alone.
As we draw close to the end of Lent, I appreciate more and more that---Easter's comin'---with its promise of new life. I hope these inmates I've met--and indeed all of us--- will be encouraged to acknowledge and resolve the past--- but to look toward a better future.
A future where the doors open in front of us--- instead of lock behind us.