One of my favorite pop music groups from the 70’s is the group Sly and The Family Stone. The group had many great songs. One of my favorites is “Stand.” Here at the Federal Prison Camp in Atlanta, Ga., we can buy songs and download them to our prison-bought MP3 Players. A song generally cost about $1.50. MP3 Players cost $69.20.
Recently I downloaded “Stand.” As I listened to the words of the song I realized how inspirational it is. The lyrics tell us to “Stand, there is a cross for you to bear. Things to go through if you’re going anywhere.” I am reminded here of the Jesus and the Rich Ruler and the meeting they had in Luke 18:18-29 (NIV). The ruler wanted to know how to inherit eternal life. Jesus named the commandments he should follow regarding murder, stealing, giving false testimony, honoring his father and mother. The ruler affirmed he had done all these things.
Then Jesus said, “Sell all you have, everything, and give to the poor; you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” You know what happened. The ruler went away sad. He had too much wealth to give it away and pick up the Cross of Christ.
The song “Stand” goes on to say, “Stand for the things you know are right. It’s the truth, that the truth makes them so uptight.” How many times in the Bible did Jesus say, “I tell you the truth”? I have not counted the times but there were many. And later when Peter remarks, “We have left all we had to follow you,” Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or wife, or brother or parents or children for the Kingdom of God, who will not receive manifold more, in this time and in the age to come eternal life.”
“Stand” is very inspirational. It’s a call to action. Listening to this song I realized what was missing earlier in my life. My Purpose. Everyday I wake up here at this prison determined to be the kind of man who reflects the love and teachings of Christ Jesus. For too long I sat and did nothing. I pursued worldly goals like making more money, getting a better place to live, buying better clothes or better cars. In the end none of this stuff really matters.
Don’t get me wrong things matter — cars, homes, clothes. But it was not until I lost all of these things plus my freedom did I began to see how ridiculous I must have looked to God. Things are not important if they are ranked before God.
Since I started my walk with God, so many good things are happening in my life. So many great people are in my life now and they are showing me the Love of God. I now realized “I had things I had to go through” before I could get to where God wants to take me.
The song speaks to my spirit when it says there there is a midget standing tall and giant beside him about to fall. We know what happened in the Old Testament story of David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17.
Right here at this prison, in my dorm, we have a man confined to a wheelchair. He can walk short distances with a cane. Recently a guard saw him uses his cane and walking from the restroom. The guard was incensed and said, “So you can walk.” Then she quoted from the prison rule book about the use of wheelchairs. The chair can not be used between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. I guess this is prison business hours. She also indicated she would make sure this rule was enforced if she saw him in his wheelchair again. Her facial features were hideous. Her face was twisted with hate and contempt. It’s amazing how ugly we look when we hate and despise.
The action of the guard insulted all of us. We hope to “Stand” in defense of our comrade. I plan to pray for this man and hope God delivers him from this situation. Maybe we can be like David in the Bible and the guard will be like Goliath.
I’ve gone through many trials over the last few years. I finally understand that my purpose is to praise, love and “Stand” for the LORD!
Bernard Addison is serving 46 months for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud. Questions or comments can be sent to:
Bernard Addison/ 44863-074/ FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D/ P.O. Box 150160/ Atlanta, GA 30315