My days of incarceration in America gave birth to my career as a wordsmith. Interesting personalities and out-of-this-world revelationary experiences within the confines of prison wall revealed a part of myself and people I never knew existed. You see, before I voluntarily surrendered myself to my first physical jail cell on June 12 (2001), I was a respected leader in the local church I worshiped in Edwardsville, Illinois.
If you had asked the leadership of the church what my middle name was, they would have told you it was not Akinlabi; they would have told you it was COMMITTED. I was committed. But that commitment will eventually lead to me being a little disappointed when I discovered that only 1 member of the church visited me while in prison.
Yes, I realize my prison middle name was GUILTYasCHARGED. Yes, I realize I committed a felony when I defrauded 12 people of a total of about $3600. Yes, I realize that I had secret sins brooding in the innermost chambers of my heart while simultaneously lifting up seemingly holy hands in the leadership of the church choir. And Yes, believe it or not, I was actually in a church choir. But I thought my fellow brethren would at least pay me a visit while in prison to confirm whether or not the allegations were true.
I would eventually be reminded of the words of Jesus when he was futuristically rebuking a group of religious people for not visiting him while he was supposedly in prison. Come to think of it, would I visit Jesus if I heard he was actually imprisoned for a crime he was guilty of? Would I not follow the footsteps of many of the disciples and flee and go about my daily business?
That realization that even my brethren in the Lord deprived me of a visit was depressingly heart aching. I read Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:⁴³ and I could feel his futuristic pain more than anyone who hasn’t been to the lonely walls of a prison.
Don’t get me wrong. Seun Akisanmi is not implying that he’s in a prison situation that requires your pinging, greetings, calls or visits. He’s just meditating on the fact that we seldom don’t know what true friendship entails. We often add more petrol and fire to the lives of those we supposedly love when we neglect them knowingly or unknowingly in their time of need.
So many wounded souls in the walls of the church. So many hurting lives in our beautiful cathedrals. And sometimes the hurts and wounds are depeened because we are not deliberate about paying attention to…..
This a clarion call to that one person reading this who may have abandoned that one friend that was there for you….all because he was guilty of a crime, sick, divorced, imprisoned, or ………….(fill in the blanks). Let us redefine in our hearts and lives what true Christlikeness ought to be. Let us strive to be the set of people that the Master will say “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”