We all have a chance to do something good. We have choices, regardless of circumstance. A person doesn’t have to be one way or another simply because of his location; the fertile soil and the rocky ground can occur simply side-by-side. You pick the side you want to grow in, that is, are you a weed or wheat? Jesus acknowledged that they often will grow side-by-side in His “Parable of the Weeds”, saying:
“And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:27-30 ESV)
Yes, I understand outside forces that prey on people. Sometimes that force can be a vacuum and suck you right in if you are too close. I know that in certain neighborhoods, a street gang through intimidation can suck young people right into the gang or kill them for their refusal. When it comes to violent gangs, death is coming anyway, at one time or another, perhaps the best thing to do is to refuse before you become marked guilty of some crime. Gang members will always meet with death; physically or mentally; they are the weak ones. The strong will always resist and keep their personal integrity. Yes, sometimes the choices can be very difficult, but there are always choices.
Two thieves were crucified with our Lord Jesus; each made a choice. One turned from his earthly deadness toward Christ and was received and forgiven. The other remained in his deadness and suffered separation from God, a sentence much worse than the crucifixion. I made a choice too; see Part 2.