Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them…
You do not forget present-tense horror. If I’m locked away in some dank Roman prison cell with the wind whipping rain through the open stone-slab window and every time I open my eyes I am confronted with the image of my shivering brother in Christ huddled in a ball, trying to wring what warmth he can from his own body, I don’t forget him. I cannot ignore that. I don’t walk away from that and go order a Venti beverage and chat it up with the boys about the game last night.
Remember the prisoners as if you’ve seen the lash tear skin from skin in front of your eyes. Remember them as if you can hear the pleas for release uttered through parched lips in the darkest hours of the night. Remember them as if you both fought for courage, not knowing whether the next day would bring the liberation your wife and children have been pleading the Lord for, or the silence of heaven and the flash of a legionnaires’ sword across your neck.
Most of the people in prison nowadays deserve to be there. You sell drugs, you go to jail. You knife a cabbie, you go to jail. Not so for the early Christians. Their equation read more: You worship God, you go to jail. You refuse to offer incense to Caesar, you go to jail. But don’t read the Bible narrowly. The point is about about Christians who have lost something because of their confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God, crucified for sin, risen for life. Remember those who are suffering for their confession of the Christ.
What does it mean to “remember” them? We know. We know deep down inside what it means to remember them, because the Golden Rule cries out to be followed. The real question is, are we going to remember them, or are we not?