We just took a quick road trip to the Dallas area to celebrate Christmas with my husband’s family. It’s always a trip we look forward to taking.
Between Tulsa and Dallas, this is a familiar sight in both directions off highway 69 near Stringtown, OK.
It’s the landmark that marks the halfway point in our trip for me. It is also the site of the Mark H. Alford Correctional Center. It’s a medium security prison in Atoka County. Stringtown to most.
Over the years, tbroughout many trips to and from Dallas, while living there, working there, training there, watching soccer there, and now visiting my new family there, it has always made me feel a little bit uneasy as I drive by.
Why is that? There’s certainly plenty of barbed wire and security surrounding it.
I presume it’s because prisoners live there. People that live a way of life foreign to me. I’ve lived a very protected life. Sheltered from life’s darker side. I’m a rule follower. These are people who have not followed the rules. Who have made poor choices. Who have not followed the law. And have been caught at it.
But haven’t I made poor choices myself every now and again? Certainly! We probably all have to some degree. But these are people that God still loves. And forgives. And so should we.
Let’s all have a forgiving spirit. To those who have wronged us. No matter what the degree. It’s not for us to judge. And to those who have wronged others. Let’s offer them second chances. God certainly has done so for us. That’s what Christmas was all about! Christ came to set us free! From sin. From imprisonment. No lowly manger or prison walls can bind Jesus’ love.
Let’s accept him today, so we can escape being prisoners ourselves.
And just to be on the safe side, let’s still not pick up hitchhikers as we pass through that halfway landmark, Stringtown, Oklahoma.
God makes a home for the lonely, he leads out the prisoners into prosperity. Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land. Psalm 68:6
Love and laughter,