Do Not Return Evil For Evil Peter 3:8-9  “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

Dearly Beloved: May God’s grace, peace, mercy and tolerance be ever upon you.  The past four days have been difficult.  The prison that I am in is one of the most oppressive in Massachusetts – second only to D.D.U. (Disciplinary Detention Unit) where men are kept in solitary for as many as 10 years.  Recently, Channel 5 News in Massachusetts did a story about drugs being smuggled into this prison.  They focused on the visitors who smuggled drugs, but of course failed to mention the guards.  Just last month, a large alleged smuggling ring, which was allegedly headed by an officer, was busted.  That was kept silent and never made the news.  After the news aired, the story about drug smuggling visitors (which, by the way, only make up about 5% of all visitors), the oppressive totalitarian administration here has decided to try and make all visits non-contact.  That means that the 90 to 95% of visitors who do not smuggle drugs will have to suffer for the few that do.  In an act of protest, the kitchen workers refused to go to work.  That is maybe 30 men out of 1000. As a result, the whole prison has been locked down for 24 hours a day.  That is mass punishment and it is illegal under the U.S. Constitution.  The prison is flexing it’s muscle and as per usual, it is overreacting.  By the way, there are no new policies to curb officers from smuggling drugs.  In fact, it seems to me, in my opinion, that the timing of the visitor news story was designed to draw attention away from the guards smuggling drugs in.  This is all political and we inmates suffer over the games played by the administration.

So, what does all this have to do with God?  Well, as some of you might imagine, the spiritual and psychological warfare being waged by this highly corrupt institution can wreak havoc on one’s mind and emotions.  Anger, sadness and despair cause pain; pain hurts and hurt people sometimes hurt people.  Our flesh craves conflict.  When someone hurts you, your flesh naturally wants vengeance.  It cries out for justice.  If one is not able to control one’s self, then thoughts of retaliation shall consume you until you lash out.  We who are saved know better than to allow evil thoughts of vengeance to cause us to lose the great testimony we have in Christ Jesus.  It is not on our own that we conquer those thoughts and feelings, but by the power of the Lord’s Holy Spirit.  Hallelujah!  I would be lying to you if I told you that thoughts like those did not run through my mind.  Of course, they have; I am, but human.  However, God’s love combined with logic and reason prevail over such animalistic thoughts.  And, as I pondered the protests that had gone violent in Charlotte, N.C., I couldn’t help but pray that God’s love would prevail there as well.  I have got to tell you that I am proud of the inmates who peacefully protested by simply refusing to work.  Likewise, I am proud of the people in the streets who are peacefully protesting.  God bless all of you!  Amen!  We are all fighting the same oppressor, but we must not return evil for evil.  If we continue to fight on, marching and protesting against evil, I promise you, change will come.  To the families of all the victims and persons of color who had to suffer the indignity of having their loved one murdered by fear and prejudice, my prayers and tears are with you.  Your loved ones did not die in vain.  They are beloved soldiers who lost their lives in the war against oppression.  And, in their honor, we shall fight on.  In the name of Jesus, we shall fight hate with love.  Hallelujah!  With love, all things are possible.  God is Love and Love is God.

May God bless and keep you!  May you return good for evil!  May you fight the good fight!  Amen!
Love in Christ,
(a man who refuses to return evil for evil)


Make Me An Instrument Of Thy Peace
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”
**(author unknown, but often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi according to Wikipedia)