Appreciating Flaws

Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)

“How can such a beautiful place look so good outside and deep inside is dark and scary?” that thought lingered as I drove away from my scheduled interview 11 years ago.

“Do you have any question?” the interviewing Nurse Manager asked me.

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“Only one,” I confidently stated.

“Your place looks so nice with the palm trees around and green lawn and beautiful flowers all over. But coming from the hospital, I haven’t truly been in, in any prison kind of work so I want to see how it’s like inside, if I may?”

“Oh…”with a surprised look she says, “No one had ever requested that. That was a good thing to ask. Some of the nurses who had come here for job interviews were so confident and was so positive at first, then after just working a few days, turned out they all wanted to quit.”

My request was granted. Someone from the Infirmary downstairs had volunteered to give me that tour in that precious few minutes of break she had amidst the mountain of paper works she dealt with daily. I immediately felt suffocated as we both descended downstairs that led to the prison units, including the Clinic and other offices vital to the prison’s needs. She brought me to Intake where heavy metal doors were slammed shut as different arrestees from all walks of life arrived and were to be processed. Funny smell arose from bodies reeking with alcohol and other unknown substances. The more the air became stale.

Sick inmates were lined up, some being yelled at for losing patience, as they waited to be called, one by one, to be seen by either nurses or the jail doctor. I saw darkness amidst the fluorescent light illuminating the whole facility. It felt being buried down there. It was suffocating, as if we were deprived of fresh air to breathe. The mixture of silence and noises at times were deafening.

“Thank you,” I told the Nurse Manager after my brief tour.

“I didn’t expect what to see but I think I will try to learn whatever I need to learn in your facility and just give my best.”

“No, thank you!”

“You had given me that idea to give applicants a chance to see this place and what truly goes on here, day after day.”

I took a deep breath as I hungered for a fresher air as I step a little lower on my gas pedal. Looking at the rear view mirror, I saw the palm trees dancing with the wind. The tan paint coated the outside walls and made the building appeared clean. The grass appeared greener as the sun's rays shone on them. I smiled as I saw some of the sunlight penetrated those tiny windows in the tiny cells. I knew I would be okay to work in that place.

We all face a war that rages deep inside ourselves daily. It is the war to make the decisions, whether good or bad, we need to choose. We are all flawed. We all have imperfections. We all can choose to see the “best” amidst all these imperfections. We can choose to see the “good” out of the “bad.” The way God sees humanity. He knows all of our imperfections and because of love as His nature, He chooses to give us the best despite our flawed nature. Sometimes, no one knows....It is in those flaws and little blessings that may turn out to be the biggest in someone's journey.






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Encouragers

The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]


Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.


Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.


All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.


When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.


The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.


When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.


[Source: Life Application Bible]:


We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.


“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14


Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].


Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.


Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.


Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].

Friends