Enemies in County Jail

      • Here’s a precious memory from my years doing jail ministry:

One night I was doing a Bible study with two men in county jail who were enemies.They were in the medical unit,  as one had a broken leg and the other diabetes. They lived four cells apart.  I’d spend time with each of them separately, studying the Bible and praying with them through the small pass-through opening in their doors.

The deputy on duty said, “I don’t get it. Those two ask for Bible study, yet they hate each other. You should hear them!  All day long they curse, shout and argue with each other.”

I talked with Clarence first:  “This is not God’s way.  Jesus said that if you don’t forgive others for their wrongs, then you can’t expect God to forgive you.  Are you pretending to love Jesus or is it real?”

He said, “It’s real.”

“Then you need to love your brother. You need to forgive him and you need to ask him to forgive you. As a true believer, the Holy Spirit has given you self-control. You need to exercise that self-control. You must control your temper and stop the arguing.”

Then I went down the hall to Mike and told him the same thing.  Mike said, “OK, I’ll forgive him, if he’ll forgive me.”

I went back to Clarence and said, “Mike is sorry for the bad things he said to you. He is asking you to forgive him.”

Clarence said he’d forgive Mike. So I urged both of them to call down the hall and tell the other one you’re sorry.

Mike yelled, “Hey Clarence! I’m sorry, Man. Forgive me?”
Clarence yelled back, “Hey Bro! I forgive you. Will you forgive me?”
Mike yelled, “I forgive you! Thanks Bro!”
Both men were wiping away tears.

The deputy gave me a thumbs up as I left that night.

I walked to my car feeling overwhelmed with love for God. “Thank You Lord for making it so easy!”

  • But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.       Matthew 6:15
  • MARTHA Lyrics by Liana Wendy Howarth; Music by Kathleen


This life is temporary.  This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/

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About Kathleen

God delights in working through His people as they submit to Him. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone (Mark 16:15). No matter where we live on this planet, people are separated from God because of sin. We ALL need a Savior, and there’s only ONE. It brings me great joy to share Christ with the lost and lonely. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal while facilitating Bible studies. I’ve found myself on college and university campuses, the beach, the streets, the hospital, the jail and the juvenile facility for incarcerated teens sharing God’s message of love. I also serve as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach. I’ve seen countless lives transformed when people turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. The changes God makes are real and lasting. These are some of my experiences. NOTE: My stories have been altered, removing any and all identifying factors. This includes names and other particulars in order to protect confidentiality and anonymity.
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10 Responses to Enemies in County Jail

  1. Helene says:

    Wonder why they hated each other? What did each one have against the other?
    Praise God that it is the Holy Spirit who convicts man of sin!

    • Kathleen says:

      Who knows, Helene. Often people in prison are there because of their quick tempers. In those situations, it doesn’t take much to set them off. Just a thoughtless comment may be enough.

  2. Susan says:

    Who would have thought it would be so simple. Kathleen, you are a natural counselor. I wish I had had you to counsel me when I was raising our daughter. You rely on God and he shows you the way. God is awesome and you are an obedient servant. God bless you and may he bless these two men as they continue to turn their lives around.

    • Kathleen says:

      Susan, I think most of the things I do are simple. I believe when we are fully surrendered to God and desire His leading, He DOES lead and we simply follow!

  3. Doug says:

    Helping people to travel beyond their limitations to a brighter day. Bravo! I remember Chuck Colson (Kingdoms in Conflict) writing of an Irish woman who was eventually compelled to visit a prison and the young man who killed her daughter with a mailbox bomb. Her forgiveness and frequent visits to this adoptive “Son” to talk, pray and read changed the killer, and started revival in that prison – Catholic and Protestant. A rehabilitation that Corrections could not provide.

  4. Steve B. says:

    I’m so humbled by the work that people like you are called to do. Ministering to those incarcerated is something that I am not directly called to do, but I understand the impact it can have. I take joy in knowing that you and many others are led to do these things. What a great story of forgiveness as well!

  5. Liana says:

    O the love of Jesus.

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