There's a ministry that provides spiritual retreats for inmates.
I have had the honor to participate in several at women’s prisons.
Our mission is to show Christ’s unconditional love.
I’m ashamed to admit that when I walked into the prison and saw the women for the first time, what filled my heart was not love.
I was horrified at the things that started running through my head.
As soon as I got to the chapel on the prison grounds, I went to the restroom, locked myself in a stall, and had a meeting with God.
I was pleading, “I had no idea I felt this way, this is wrong and terrible and I just want to be filled with your love for these women. Pour your love through me and change my heart right now!”
I left the bathroom stall and go into the meeting area where each of us is going to be paired with a resident.
I was wondering how this was going to go because I was still feeling things that were not Christ-like.
I wanted to treat these women with respect and love but what I was feeling was really not.
So the residents are lined up and they're coming in and when they call out the name of your person, you walk up to meet them.
We only know the person's name and we meet them for the first time as they're walking into the chapel.
When I saw my person, before they even said her name, I knew.
It was the closest thing to the experience of love at first sight that I've ever had.
We immediately connected and she was “better than” me in every single way.
Those feelings that I had of fear and prejudice were so glaringly wrong and it was such a humbling experience.
There's nothing like being confronted with your own bias, and it’s excruciating to realize.
I needed that experience to show me how much I needed to change and grow.