December 13, 2018
Volume 22, Number 44
You’ve heard about recidivism – the sad fact that many who spend time in jails or prisons will be returned to incarceration after spending time in the free world? Thomas Lee Williams of Philadelphia takes that concept to a whole new level.
Williams was released from jail in Hempfield, PA on Tuesday, December 4 after spending several months on charges of dealing drugs. As he walked out of the jail he went up to an SUV and pulled the woman out of the vehicle. He then fled in the stolen vehicle with her 1-year-old grandson in the back seat. About two miles down the road he crashed the SUV, and was soon apprehended by authorities.
Thankfully the woman and her grandson will be OK (other than emotional scars they may carry). Williams? He obviously didn’t learn much from his stint behind bars. We suspect this next stretch of time will be much longer for him.
Two days ago I met with a man serving time in a Tennessee state prison. He is there on a drug offense, but his mindset is different. “I’ve learned from my mistakes,” he confessed to me. “I’m not ever coming back here again.” From my acquaintance with him, I believe him. He’s working on building a new life – with Christ’s help.
Peter urged Christians to “arm yourselves also with the same mind” that Christ had; the effect will be that we cease from sins that we once committed. “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles – when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:1,3). Having the same mind as Christ would require focused learning.
Not every Christian is willing to learn. Hebrews 5:12 makes this point: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” It’s not that such disciples willfully reject learning the ways of Christ; they just get occupied with other things and don’t make spiritual learning a priority.
What happens if we don’t learn? “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning” (2 Peter 2:20). Can you say “spiritual recidivism”?
Here’s the truth we must keep before us: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Learning to develop the mind of Christ? Yes, we must be diligent in those efforts. Otherwise, we’ll return to our spiritual incarceration.
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
Copyright, 2018, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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