Jesus Christ never let the sins that people have committed stop him from loving them. We should follow Christ’s example, including when it comes to those who’ve been incarcerated.
Though my experiences and those of someone who’s incarcerated may seem to have little in common, our existence is still a shared one and we’re all children of God.
I learned a lot more about this topic in a Liahona article titled “Ministering to Those Who Are Incarcerated.” Author Marissa Widdison provides insight from Doug Richens, manager of outreach programs and ministry for incarcerated members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Richens says, “A common stereotype of those who are incarcerated is that they are all untrustworthy, violent, and dangerous. However, I’ve found that most are not like that. Most feel remorse for their actions. They are trying to rise above the bad choices of the past and live good lives.”
The stereotypes that Richens mentions can be extremely harmful to individuals who are currently incarcerated or who have previously served time in prison. These stereotypes can lead to assuming the worst about others, but we must remember the words in Matthew 25:37–40:
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee . . . in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Instead of judging people because of their sins, we must remember to love everyone. All people, regardless of their situations, deserve charity, respect, and kindness. Let’s strive to remember what Christ would do when interacting with all people, no matter their backgrounds or current situations.
To learn how to minister to incarcerated individuals, read Marissa Widdison’s Liahona article “Ministering to Those Who Are Incarcerated.”
—Erin Johnston, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY DONALD TONG
Find more insights
Learn about the time Joseph Smith was incarcerated in Liberty Jail by reading “Within the Walls of Liberty Jail,” by Justin R. Bray.
Read Doug Richens’s account of a member who served time in prison in the Liahona article “Compassion for Those Affected by Crime and Incarceration.”