Jailhouse Religion

by Steven White

The first drug that I tried was marijuana. You’ve probably heard from so-called friends that marijuana is not a bad thing; it won’t hurt you, it should be legalized; and it won’t lead to stronger drugs.

Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s a lie straight off the lips of the Jackal himself. What’s more, anyone who tells you different is no real friend, and you stay clear of them. Be prepared to run and say “no” as loud and as often as necessary to keep the demon away. There is nothing in that bottle but misery, and misery loves company. I only wish someone had told me.

Marijuana was the steppingstone that led me to try other drugs. I managed to avoid confrontations with law enforcement for a few years. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I found myself at a minimum-security work camp. The first thing I thought was “I didn’t belong here”, “I was better than most of the inmates here”, and “What did I do to deserve this?”

As soon as I walked through the front gate, I was told to strip down. I was told to shower with a special soap designed to rid you of body lice and other critters you might be carrying. Then, immediately after the shower, they hit me a cloud of anti-lice powder for good measure. Talk about humiliating.

Feeling that I had reached my
all-time low, I decided to read from a Bible in the inmate library. I was willing to do anything to get some relief from my misery. Much to my dismay, I began to practice what is called “jailhouse religion”. It has been labeled so because it is basically a false religion – praying for the wrong reasons. Most inmates fall into this trap in an attempt to escape all the bad things they are experiencing.

There, in prison, you are likely to hear prayers like “Please God, get me out of this” and “Please God, get me out of that”. They want religion long enough to save themselves temporarily and usually wind up going back to their sinful ways once they get out of jail or prison. That being said, I chalked that up to being a new Christian. I know that’s no real excuse, but I have learned over the years that we are not perfect Christians.

We grow toward that goal and we are going to make mistakes. So don’t be surprised if you fall into the same trap. Most of us won’t get it right the first time. As we get stronger in the word of God, we gain experience and grow in situations that alert us enough not to repeat the same mistakes. Just keep on doing what’s right and you can’t go wrong.

Steven White, Author of "The Fly and the Jackal"

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