Avoidable Disgrace


One of the opportunities I’ve had as a Salvation Army officer was to be the chaplain of one of the most impressive prisons in South America, the “Carandirú” detention house in São Paulo, Brazil. Inaugurated in 1920, this institution was a model for the rehabilitation of men during its first decades, later on however abandoned its original purposes and objectives. As a result in 1992 staged one of the greatest and bloodiest massacres in penitentiary history with the brutal execution of 111 men.


The inmates locked there used to share their stories with me saying that because of a moment of inattention and weakness they had allowed bad friends to convinced them to participate of criminal actions for which they afterwards repent but ended up in prison having to pay for that little moment of mistake. “Carandirú” became a symbol of personal and institutional lack of integrity and vigilance.


This extreme reality should make us understand that small lapses can have immense consequences. The bible calls these mistakes as sin and alerts us that the result of sin is always undesirable and negative. Therefore before it is too late lets act avoiding unthoughtful reactions but carefully reflect about the situations that life brings us and let us ponder it observing the true values.


Maybe we don’t face the risk of being physically incarcerated but our sins imprison us spiritually and impede us from truly living a free life. For our past not to compromise our future, we must day to day build a life of sincere obedience to the Creator of the universe, who through his word presents us with the right objectives to be followed. Let’s diligently move towards it.


  • Which small mistakes have had great negative consequences in your life?

  • How can you improve your vigilance to avoid all and any sin?


(Vigilance outfit, Ephesians 6:11-13 – Vigilance attitude, 1 Peter 5:8-10)

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Sobre mi

Soy oficial del Ejército de Salvación desde 1983 donde por la gracia de Dios he tenido la oportunidad de ocupar varias funciones pastorales, administrativas y de liderazgo en Sudamérica, Europa y África.

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