Remember The Prisoner As If You Were In Prison

WLO_visitrememberPost by Pastor Tim – I had just been arrested, and at the time, the terms of my bail were very unclear.  This meant that for a few weeks , I was practically confined to my home without the ability to take my kids to school or to go to church.

It would be anti-climactic to say that I was feeling “down,” but without the close interaction of my church family and friends it was pretty difficult.  But then the flurry of visitors came.

It seemed that visitors from all over creation  wanted to stop by our house and see me for various reasons.  I wasn’t real comfortable with any of these visits, but I didn’t refuse anyone who wanted to stop by our home.  Some came to offer their pity and to share in my sorrow.  Some came to offer their advice and perspective on the whole situation.  And still others (like Job’s friends) came to tell me, in painfully precise detail, just how I was wrong in what I did.

There is one particular visit which really exemplified the Work of Mercy of visiting and remembering though.  A middle-aged couple with whom we were friends, asked to come and visit us.  We didn’t quite know what to expect, but we invited them to come over anyway.

As they arrived at our home, they came bearing gifts – they had brought dinner!  And as we sat down to share in a meal, they did ask how we were doing and gave simple words of encouragement to us.   Immediately after dinner though, the man pulled out his guitar and we shared in some hymns/songs, read Scripture together and prayed.

They never really gave their opinion on the situation or tried to give us their advice on how we should proceed.  They had simply come to share their bread and to share a church service together right in our home.

As much as we appreciated all of our visits, this particular visit, even in its simplicity pointed us to Christ the most.  And I can’t help but think that the man who visited us, who was once in prison himself, remembered Hebrews 13:3, which says,

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

This passage is undoubtedly referring to Christians who were suffering as a direct result of their faith, but we should be quick to visit and remember any brother or sister in Christ who is suffering for any reason.  If you want to learn a simple model of Christian visitation, I would suggest following the example of my two friends.  First, provide for the physical or emotional needs that are present.  Second (and most important), provide for the spiritual needs that are also present.

And if you don’t know how to provide for spiritual needs, read some Scripture, sing a hymn and pray together.  The great news is that you don’t have to be a super-Christian or have a seminary degree to do that.  This is a simple act of Christian visitation that God will use more than you can imagine.

About tdillmuth

Pastor Timothy Dillmuth is the Discipleship Pastor of Voice of the Martyrs Korea. He oversees Underground University, a missionary training school for North Korean defectors, and does discipleship training with Christians from all over the world. Pastor Tim received a bachelor's degree from Zion Bible College and an M.Div. from Regent University. He lives with his wife, Melissia and their three children in Seoul, South Korea.
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6 Responses to Remember The Prisoner As If You Were In Prison

  1. Jacquelynne Titus says:

    Dear Pastor Tim,

    I humbly come before you, 1st to praise God for your Christ-like attitude. 2nd to point out the misunderstanding of Hebrew 13:3 which is widely promoted.

    “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

    (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

    Christians were and are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. These brothers are doers of the word out of a child-like heart and not a slavish fear. The actions you pointed out in this post are admirable, but this is not remembering those who are in prison as though in prison with them and those who are ill-treated [for their faith in Jesus Christ] as being yourself also in the body.” Living in a democracy is good, if we use our freedoms to love and promote the gospel of grace. But freedom can also be a bad thing because often we are those of little faith: “ But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?” (Matthew 16:8 ESV) I encourage you to prayerfully search the scriptures and check out http://www.persecution.com God bless you brother.

    Bound with them in love

    Jacquelynne Titus

    Voice of The Martyrs VVN #209

    Gal. 6: 9, 10-Heb. 12:28,29-13:3

    http://www.callformercy.com

    Pakistan-asiabibi-deathsentence…

    Asia Bibi – Pakistan

    • tdillmuth says:

      Great point Jacquelynne – I think you’re right! It’s easy to read that Scripture with a “western-like” framework instead of understanding Christian persecution in the first century. I think I’ll make an addition to my post to reflect this.

      The point I really hoping to make was that in ministering to someone who is in prison – or even someone who is sick or homebound – the best thing we can offer is God’s word. Our advice, thoughts, etc. carry little comfort for those who need it most. I think the “how to” of the work of mercy of “visiting and remembering” is becoming a forgotten practice among Christians!

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and God Bless You as well!

  2. I thought your meditation was a good example of what we need to do in order to help others and show compassion. I didn’t quite get what Jacquelynne was trying to point out. You were not saying this covers all prisoners. You were referring to your personal situation and how that family blessed your heart. You realized the visitor had been there and done that and knew what was needed. He was touched by your need and tried to meet it. It was not meant to be an all-inclusive “how to” on all situations of all prisoners. I’m very touched by Jacquelynne’s involvement with Voice of the Martyrs and will check out her link We in the Western World have only read about those who are so persecuted for their faith and imprisoned. Thanks for you comment from me also Jacquelynne, I’ll go to your link and pray more fervently and see what else I can do to help.
    Sincerely,
    Marlene Hibbard
    http://www.marlenhibbard.com

  3. If these guitar playing, hymn singing, dinner-eating people come to ROK, we need to meet!

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