Psalm 69:6 – Do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me…
Not all Christians are called to be evangelists. When asked to speak to others to share our faith we grow nervous and silent. But as Christians our greatest evangelism is simply in how we live our lives. Others watch us, and if they know us to be a Christian then they will draw certain conclusions about our faith based on how they see us live.
In prison we have a great gift in the close and constant proximity of our fellow believers. It is true that the overcrowding of Virginia’s prisons leads to heat, poor hygiene, fights and no privacy; but it also puts believers in a close community that is rivaled only by monasteries. When we struggle on our walk in some thoughts, word or deed (BCP-79) then there is another brother close by to hold us accountable. We all struggle with trying to live a righteous and upright life, and we struggle together as a Christian community.
But the potential to harm others is also great. If we claim to be faithful, and men see in us depravity, then they may never seek God. To lead someone away from God would be as great a tragedy as it is a joy to lead someone to God. Our whole community becomes a life of evangelism. Other prisoners see how we live, how we struggle, and how we continue to lift each other up to a better way of living. Often it is not we who must go and seek men to evangelize to, but men who come to us with questions. Willing or not, we are evangelists.
“That it may please thee to bless and keep all thy people, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord” BCP 150