A family is a group of persons related by marriage and blood ties and generally living together in the same household. In our case, most of the families we reach out to are not living together, because of separation by prison walls. One of the exception would be our outreach to victims and their families.
God's ideal for the family is that it be a harmonious unit, where love for God and neighbor are instilled into each member. Jesus was asked: "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?" Jesus replied, "'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matt. 22:36-39 NLT).
Our hearts go out to all those who have been victims of crime. It is getting harder and harder to find someone in this day and age that has not been a victim of some type of criminal activity. We pray that in some way this site will minister to your heart.
I don't know a single Christian prisoner, out of the thousands I've known, who doesn't feel a genuine concern for their victims and families of their victims. Those who do not deal with their guilt and shame are held in bondage to their past. It is our calling to minister liberty to them.
Ideally, we'd like to see victims and offenders come together as victors with a vision to reach the world for Christ. But realistically, many victims and offenders are not ready for reconciliation in Christ. We have our work cut out for us to reach out to those who are hurting. We'd suggest contacting the late Chuck Colson's Justice Fellowship for information on reconciliation programs.
Our friends and us are in prayer, on how we can reach out to victims. We'd like to suggest links to victim's organizations. If you would like to recommend an organization, please let us know.
Office on Violence Against Women
The National Organization for Victim Assistance
Office for Victims of Crime
National Center for Victims of Crime
Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation, Inc.
There are many links scattered throughout our site on the subject of forgiveness. We are cautioned throughout the Scriptures how unforgiveness can damage the heart, soul and body.
In Dr. Don Colbert's book Deadly Emotions, he says, "Those who choose to forgive are those who decide to give up resentment and the desire to punish. They have a willingness to relinquish all claims to exact a penalty for an offense. They actually cancel the debt they believe another person owes them."
Cost of Forgiveness
The following is the continuing story of the daughter of one of Charles' victims, who forgave him while on a visit in prison. The first part of this miraculous story is The Miracle of Forgiveness.
Suzan's parents were murdered in the summer of 1969. Even though she understood the victim's plight, she never allowed others to cast her into that roll. Rather, she chose to remain open-minded, not knowing what the future held. Then, eighteen years later, she took the bold step of forgiving me, even after I had committed such a horrible crime against her.