Chaplains Peter and Lil Have a Difficult Task To Do.
In their quest to minister to the men and women in Chester County Prison and to bring them the Good News of Jesus Christ, Peter Roomet and Lil Anthony are in reality battling “strongholds” erected decades earlier in an inmate’s life, and oftentimes generations before he or she was even born. Sadly the behaviors & attitudes that led to their incarceration were likely perpetuated to them as children. So their chance of escaping this family legacy of dysfunction is almost impossible. The statistics that support this claim are sobering to say the least:
- 70% to 87% of prisoners grew up in homes without both parents,
- Boys who witness domestic violence in their own home are 3 times more likely to become batterers.
- Children of alcoholics have a 4-fold increased risk of becoming alcoholics as adults compared with the general population.
- Up to 90% of prisoners have had a parent or close relative that was in jail.
Such dysfunction in a family impacts the children so negatively that psychotherapists have labeled him or her a “wounded inner child” which will carry that label and the resultant emotional disorders and destructive behaviors for the rest of their lives. Worst of all their own children are all but doomed to inherit the same grim fate. No wonder the godly patriarch of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, wrote a great little book entitled It’s Better to Build Boys than Mend Men. Yet that’s exactly what Peter and Lil are trying to do at CCP…mend broken men and women.
Like any rebuilding project though, the effort is doomed unless it’s being rebuilt on a firm foundation. Here the advice of the Apostle Paul, a man who became the quintessential example of rebuilding a destructive life, should be followed explicitly: “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (NIV)) Thankfully Peter & Lil have heeded that wisdom exactly.
We can assist them in their noble cause by praying for not only the families of inmates in CCP, but for wounded inner children throughout the world. Our prayer must be that they will commit their lives to Christ, and become the courageous ones in their own families – so firmly anchored on that firm foundation, so they will determinedly break the ongoing cycle of dysfunction in their home once & for all. Interceding must be for not just their salvation, but for them to role-model fidelity to the Word with such steadfastness. that they’re sure to weather the inevitable storms that will follow. As Jesus challenged: “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)