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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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Proverbs 31:8–9 (NLT) tells us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”
At first glance, no two things can seem more opposite than grace and justice. After all, by definition, grace is giving benefits that are not deserved, while justice is giving people exactly what they deserve. As Christians, we’ve received abundant grace through Christ—unmerited, unmeasurable favor. And here’s the thing: Encountering and being transformed by this grace should propel and stir passion in our hearts to live a life of justice. It should compel us to ensure that those who are oppressed, marginalized, and unjustly treated receive the fair treatment they are due as image-bearers of God, and that those who mistreat them and hold them down are held accountable.
And that’s exactly the heartbeat behind the Recovery Vision Team—to give a voice to the voiceless and fight against the injustices for those suffering from addictions.
Once living a life without hope and purpose and bound by her addictions, Christine Koester found Jesus and was given the opportunity to receive help from a rehabilitation program after prison. She’s a walking success story of this method as she went through her post-prison mentorship with Madeline Kline and made it her mission to advocate for those who have a similar story to hers. Now Christine and her husband both advocate for prison rehabilitation inside and outside the prison.
So, What Does Rehabilitation Actually Mean?
Rehabilitation looks like working with someone, usually in prison or just out of prison, and pairing them with a mentor to give them the resources they need to recover and have greater opportunities in their life after prison.
“We help educate them on what it really is that they’re dealing with and then assist them through mentorship and ministering to them about how a relationship with Jesus can change everything,” Christine shared.
The hope for prison reform is that the community would be more involved to help with current inmates, so they would come out different then the way they went in. But that means fighting for laws that would actually allow that to take place.
The hope for prison reform is that the community would be more involved to help with current inmates, so that they would come out different then the way they went in. But that means fighting for laws that would actually allow that to take place.
Fighting Prison Reform
Earlier this year, Christine and Madeline, two Recovery Team leaders, had the opportunity to join a local partner (Florida Cares) on a trip to Tallahassee to speak up for the communities they represent.
“The goal of the Recovery Vision Team is to go out into the community and be an advocate for the voiceless, especially when it comes to laws affecting those trying to go through rehabilitation. Standing up for them in every possible way we can looks like going to our local government, but also our national government.”
One such bill had the potential to negatively affect the rehabilitation opportunities for those who need it. We asked Christine to walk us through why this bill must receive resistance from our recovery community. She claimed the reason “we opposed this bill is because if you place harsher sentencing over the opportunity for rehabilitation then there’s no opportunity for recovery. Yes, there needs to be justice served and consequences faced when someone breaks the law, but maybe being in prison isn’t the only consequence. Our team stands for rehabilitation and reentry, so having this bill become law would create harsher sentencing and less ability for us to reach these people. That is why this trip to Tallahassee was so important—it directly impacts the people they’re fighting so hard for!”
Congress was surprised at Madeline and Christine’s stance and invited them into their office to hear more about why this may not be in the best interest of our community. “It’s amazing the power you have as a citizen of your community to be able to speak and be heard,” she expressed.
How Should We Do Justice?
All of these injustices we see don’t have to stay injustices, but they do require prayer and reflection, circumspection, and a step of faith.
What stirs up your desire for justice? Who does your heart break for? God can use you to make an impact in those areas greater than you can imagine! Through the Calvary Vision, there are so many areas to get involved—everything from foster care and elderly care to helping marriages, families, and the next generation.