Honor Amongst Thieves
The door slams behind the prisoner as he is taken out of his cell. Garcia is led down a corridor toward several large, intimidating iron gates. This is a special day for Garcia. In a couple of hours, he will be breathing "free air." Prison life had been difficult for him. He had made a couple friends and many enemies. Before Garcia leaves prison, he has one favor he wants to pay off. He asked the officer in charge if he could speak to Greg.
Greg, along with his other duties, was in charge of tracking the Security Threat Groups (gangs) inside the prisons in his state. For security reasons, I won’t mention the state. Garcia told Greg that his gang had planted a mole deep inside his office. In fact, it was Greg’s personal secretary who was spying for this gang. After a thorough investigation, the allegations were substantiated. Somehow, the gang had discovered that the secretary’s husband had a drug problem and they started to supply him with drugs. One thing led to another and the wife was blackmailed into working for the gang.
Why did this paroling prisoner reveal this information? A couple years earlier Garcia’s mother was dying, so he went to talk to Greg. To Garcia’s amazement, Greg was considerate enough to actually listen to him. When the prisoner asked to be moved closer to his dying mother, Greg told him he would not do anything outside of the standard operating procedures, but if there was a vacant cell at the other prison, he would transfer him. As it happened, there was an opening. Garcia said that the reason he revealed this valuable information about the mole was because Greg had shown him respect and treated him fairly. There is "honor among thieves."
Think about how you treat your neighbors and coworkers. Are you respectful of their feelings and rights? Are you always fair and equitable in your dealings with them? The bottom line is this: If God were to provide you an opening to share the gospel with them, would your past treatment of them make them more receptive to the gospel, or less?
If you are respectful and fair in the way you treat others, they will remember it. It does not matter who you are or what position you hold, you should always be fair with those around you. You may say, "That might be true in a perfect world, but you don’t know my situation. You don’t know the type of people with whom I have to deal. Showing kindness with these people will be interpreted as weakness."
Although it is true that I may not know your situation, I do understand the principles of kindness and fairness. If there is any environment where kindness could be interpreted as weakness, it is in the prison setting. Yet, in the prison, an officer can be respectful and fair without being viewed as being weak. In fact, the officers who are "firm, but fair" are the most successful. As this situation with Greg shows, being fair is beneficial to all people involved.
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