Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Longer You Are In, the Harder It Is To Escape

Many years ago I watched a prison movie. I’m not entirely sure if it was a true story or not. It was based on an innocent man who was given two life sentences in 1947. There was one part of the movie where an elderly man who had served for 50 years was finally released.

The day he found out that he had made parole, he almost snapped. Instead of being happy that he was finally going to walk out of those prison gates, he was scared. He had been in that prison for so long he didn’t know if he could face what was on the outside.

At one point he even took a fellow prisoner hostage with a knife to his throat. He figured that if he just cut the guy’s throat then he would have to stay in prison. It’s kind of crazy to think that someone would not want to leave their prison cell. Yet isn’t that the truth for some of us?

Our prison cell might not be a dark, musty cell like the one he lived in. Instead our prison cell might be dependency, fear, anger, jealousy, addictions, lust and the list could go on. The truth is, any time we are locked in a prison cell of sin it is really just like the one that elderly gentleman lived in—it is dark and musty and there is nothing really good about it. Yet we still want to stay there.

Some of the other prisoners finally convinced the man to put the knife down. The next day he was walked to the gate of the prison by the guards. He was all dressed up in a suit, carrying his little suitcase.

He quickly discovered how drastically life on the outside had changed. He described it as being too fast. He felt like everyone around him was just moving too fast through the days. Yet the reality was that they were just living, just doing what you do when you live.

But he didn’t know what living was about. He had been stuck in that dark place for so long he couldn’t recognize the bright light of living.

He tried to fit in with society. The prison system set him up with a little apartment and he got a job bagging groceries. But he didn’t want to be free. He would have rather been back in his prison. Sadly, he ended up taking his own life. He had finally had enough. He had been in his prison so long that he didn’t know how to escape…even though he was free.

Do you ever just get tired of the same old struggle? The same old sin? Do you ever feel like victory will never come? Perhaps it is because we haven’t taken that step toward freedom. Some of that bright light (Jesus) shines in our face and we shrink back…back into the dark but comfortable prison cell we have been so used to.

Yet Jesus is calling us out of that dark prison cell. Because the truth is, like the elderly man from this movie, if we stay too long it will be that much harder to escape. So are you ready? Are you ready to finally move out of the prison cell? Are you ready to take that first step toward freedom?

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