But in our current culture, where everything from domestic violence, to addictions, to child pornography, to embezzlement, to hiring someone without the right to work here, to vandalism each add to the fearfulness and destructive culture that seems to be a tsunami of chaos informing all corners of our lives. It is no wonder that a culture of victim-hood crosses all socio-economic, cultural, regional and religious layers. We seem to be too numb to observe the damage our own choices make and embrace anger as a protective wall against all we cannot control outside ourselves.
So how do we help?
It is very helpful to take responsibility for our own attitudes, postures, choices and thoughts. It is far from easy to do this in a world that finds such ideas "repressive to our right to express our every fleeting thought or indulge any impulse". But we do have a God who will help us begin to learn different ways to think, new ways to act. Being supportive of this for those affected by incarceration is good. Oh, I certainly don't mean lecturing or judging as neither ever convinced anyone to change, but rather causes us to become defensive and resistant to change which is frightening. But from disengaging from negative talk (sitting calmly and quietly) to instead being a cheerleader for better attitudes and choices, can be helpful.
We can pray for one another and for one another's family. This is not only a blessing to those being prayed for, but also helps us align ourselves with God's way of doing things. It opens our hearts to words inspired by the Spirit of God, words of comfort and hope, words of faith and consolation.
We can offer to help in practical ways: If your friend must travel long distances to visit their loved one in prison or jail, you might be a blessing if you offer to travel along. You can offer to send a card or note to the incarcerated person, offering proof of God's love and willingness to forgive and restore. You can include your friend in your own family gatherings if they have little family or the stresses of the situation have fractured family bonds. You can send a note to your friend on the anniversary of the incarcerated loved one's birthday.
Walk with your friend. Walk with your family member. Let God's love infuse your relationship.