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Finding Freedom in Forgiveness

April 17, 2023

Each year, teams of volunteers spend time sharing the love of Jesus with men and women behind bars. Through Christ’s work in lives during Seminars and the Prison Journey to the Heart, inmates find spiritual freedom while still physically behind bars. The 2023 Spring Prison Journey was no exception. Held at the end of March, many people prayed, then volunteers presented the materials to inmates in two prisons. God did a mighty work! 

A topic covered on each Journey is the importance of forgiveness and not harboring bitterness. This subject hit home for many of the inmates who have faced various hurts in their lives. In the men’s prison, the Spirit of God was at work convicting the Journey attendees of their bitterness and empowering them to forgive. Following a message on this topic, the inmates were asked how many of them had someone that they needed to forgive that night. Many hands went up across the dorm. One Journey leader led the men in a prayer. First, they confessed their bitterness as sin, and next they asked God’s forgiveness for their sin. Then the men prayed for God to enable them to forgive those that had hurt them. The Journey leader finished by encouraging them to pray for God to bless those that had offended them. One inmate shared that, during this time, he had prayed and forgiven someone he was harboring bitterness toward. Forgiving the one offender led him to forgiving others that had hurt him. By the time the man was finished, he testified to the Journey group about the new found freedom he had experienced through forgiving those that had offended him!

The volunteers testified to the work they saw God doing. Not only were inmates’ lives being touched by God, but also the volunteers’ lives! Toward the end of the week, one of the volunteers requested prayer for her team. Although God had brought knowledge of sin among her team, the members seemed to be resisting the Lord. The next day, her team had a totally different attitude! The members were open to God’s conviction—an obvious answer to prayer! Several women repented of sins in their lives, finding true freedom in the midst of their imprisonment!

One of the volunteers had a great talk with Kia.* She was able to confess and leave MANY past harmful, sinful relationships at the foot of the cross. She prayed boldly, naming each sin and asking forgiveness.She is a new person! Praise God!

George* had decided to fully surrender to the Lord.You could tell he was maturing in his walk with Christ. George told how he used to go to sleep, reflecting on his old sinful lifestyle. However, after learning about meditation, he decided to try meditating on a verse of Scripture as he went to sleep. George eagerly reported that the Scripture meditation was very helpful. He wants to make it a habit. He also shared after the Way of Escape message—how he had had a tempting thought arise, but then he claimed his position in Christ and rejected the thought. George excitedly summed up that the tempting thought went away immediately: ‘It worked’!

*Names changed.

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