Former inmate: ‘I feel that God is strong enough’
At the recent National Jail and Prison Ministry Workshop in Alabama, I had the privilege of meeting Greg Bell.
Sam Drake, a member of the Madison Church of Christ and a volunteer chaplain at Limestone Correctional Facility, introduced me to Bell.
Bell, 50, served more than four years in prison on drug charges before his release in early May. He spent much of that time reading and studying the Bible from cover to cover.
Now living in Memphis, Tenn., and attending the Sycamore View Church of Christ, the father of five talked about rebuilding his life and resisting the temptations — drugs, alcohol and other vices — that once controlled his life.
But he said those who know him best — and have seen him fall before — don’t want to hear about the change in his life. They want to see it.
He’s OK with that.
I asked him if he worries about his future outside bars or if he believes his faith is strong enough to make a fresh start.
Here’s how he replied:
“I feel that God is strong enough. I feel like my faith will stand. … But I try to see everything from a different point of view than I think most people try to see things.
“I’m a different person. I was telling Sam that I surprise myself, because I’ll be honest with you, when I got out, I began to see that wanting to help somebody or wanting to go beyond what I’d ever done before was something that came from my heart.
“And it wasn’t a burden of any kind. It was like, ‘Hey, this’ll make my mom happy.’ Or just doing little things, like, ‘This’ll keep the stress off her.’ Or asking my buddy, ‘Hey, what can I do?’ So yeah, I believe my faith will stand if I am faithful, and what I mean by that is, if I remain with people who are good Christians. …
“Everybody I’ve met (at church) has been great. And I realize that that’s where my strength is. It’s my fellowship with other people. Yeah, I think I’m going to be fine.”
<blockquote>We have loved connecting with Greg Bell. I’m so glad he is around here. His first Sunday here was my 1st sermon in a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. I’ve called the series “unchained” because the fruit of the spirit come to us out of the context of freedom. I had a few of our talented guys build a jail cell on the stage. So Greg’s 1st day with us was a day when we began talking about what it means to live as free people. How cool is that?</blockquote>