The Twin Towers jail in Los Angeles is the site of Deacon Sam Pillsbury’s chaplain ministry.

Deacon Sam Pillsburyc

He called the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. – Mark 8:34-35

Jesus says that to follow him you must give up a part of your life. You must lay down something valued to pick up your cross.

I think of these words when speaking with a man in jail or prison whose anger, bursting into violence, has ravaged his life and the lives of others. I pray that he might lay down his rage to take up the cross of peace.

I also think of the place in which I stand, and the anger at offenders enshrined in the walls, locks and chains and in the long sentences served. I think of an incarceration system that often exceeds the needs of safety to satisfy public anger.

What would it take for America to give up its consuming rage at selected wrongdoers? What would it take for us to lay down our need for their incarceration?

Moving forward: Does your anger ever stand between you and the way of Jesus?