By, Linda DeSilva

The note above the head-line in Monday’s paper caught my attention: ‘Redemption Farm, billed as a place for troubled youth drops all references to agriculture.”  What seemed like a viable plan appears to have been abandoned … just at a time when gang and individual youth violence is increasing! The situation is, or should be, of concern to every parent – indeed, of the whole Island.

Since the Government no longer regards Redemption Farm suitable for rescuing and rehabilitating unmotivated or rebellious youth, what next?  We already have the Endeavour programme, Sea Scouts, and many other opportunities, including Church/Faith-based youth organizations such as Vacation Bible School, Good News Clubs, and Word of Life – all of which have run successfully year by year. Could Government receive helpful advice from these?      

  ‘Redemption’ (so sorely needed) is not a new concept.  It has been in the mind of God since the Creation and the Fall of Adam and Eve (whose family was certainly dysfunctional)!   Cain murdered Abel and there have been imperfect families ever since.  But, thankfully, there is evidence of redemption and rehabilitation throughout the Scriptures – and in our own generation – of those whom Christ has redeemed from the penalty and practice of sin.

  So, just what is ‘redemption’? Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary: REDEMPTION: Deliverance by payment of a price. N.T. from sin, death, and the wrath of God. O.T. by a kinsman redeemer (e.g. Ruth 4:6); rescue or deliverance (Numbers 3:49); ransom (Ps 130:7)

   The New Testament emphasizes the tremendous cost involved in our redemption from sin’s penalty – Christ’s life, death, crucifixion and resurrection.  Our gratitude is (or should be) boundless. ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”(Anon.) “Redeemed, How I love to proclaim it!”(Fanny J. Crosby)

   Rehabilitation is the next step:  Paul wrote: “I keep working towards that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No … I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing.” (Philippians 3: 12 & 13 NLT)  Like Paul, thankful for our redemption, let us forget the past and look to the future prize God is calling us to receive. 

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