I heard a scripture read today that I’ve heard and read many times but thought about in a new way:

Come, ye blessed… for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me:

I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Matthew 25:34-36

Each listed thing can be taken literally and figuratively, but I’ve never thought much about the figurative idea of coming to people in prison. I have two thoughts:

First, if prison is a place where people are trapped for doing something wrong (or being found guilty even when innocent) then there are many figurative prisons. People can be

  • trapped in addiction
  • trapped in a web of dishonesty
  • trapped by habits
  • trapped in an unhealthy body
  • trapped by circumstance/duty

and I’m sure there are others.

Secondly, heavenly inheritance is given to those that “came unto” the prisoner. But prison isn’t a pleasant place to visit. I don’t really want to visit a prison. And the people stuck in prison deserve to be there anyway, right? They’re the ones that chose to break the law (chose to drink alcohol, chose to view pornography, chose bad health habits, chose to lie, chose to sign up for too many things, etc…)

Our Father is pleased with us when we “visit” them anyway—when we visit them where they are, even if we can’t break them free.