Book Review: Behind the Wire

“After five rounds in prison, I’ve come to learn the importance of relationships in my life as well as the intense need to cultivate the good ones and discard unhealthy connections,” says Scott Highberger in his book Behind the Wire.

Scott lived a tough life. He was arrested 35 times, he was convicted of eight felonies and was sentenced to prison five times. Throughout the book, you can feel the pain and the struggle that led Scott to where he is today, in prison, but not as a prisoner, now as a preacher. Scott spends his time ministering to those who find themselves in the same prison that he was in for many years.

This book is a labor of love for Scott. You can tell from the beginning, how much he yearns for people to break free of the sins that are placing them in bondage. This book is one way in which he is trying to reach out to those who are stuck in a vicious cycle of going to prison, getting out and going back.

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Scott tells his story by drawing you into his life. You see what makes him tick. You get a real feel for the despair he felt, as his life  spiraled out of control. The story gets worse when you see how his story affected the people that he loved. His family and his son were all hurt by Scott’s actions and Scott makes sure to own up to everything he did. And that’s a big part of the message he preaches today – “Don’t spend years cowering in fear. Go forward boldly, meet the obstacles and pray for God’s help to overcome and rise above the mess you created before you knew His grace.”

Scott doesn’t just preach this message, he lives it out. In a very moving section in the book, Scott has to own up to a piece of his past, even though he had moved on from it. Taking responsibility is a hard thing for most people, but it’s even harder when you are facing serious time because of your actions. I won’t ruin the book for you, but what happens in the Florida courtroom brought tears to my eyes and this story alone is worth the cost of the book.

Behind the Wire also features many practical challenges. Scott, who wrote to book with Donna K. Rice, do a good job in offering practical steps for people who may be bound in their sin and living for themselves to break free from those bondage’s and experience the freedom that Christ offers.

One example that I found extremely practical and applicable for most everyone was found in chapter 3. Here he offers three keys:

  1. Returning what you borrow. Scott says that before Jesus he borrowed with no intention of returning.
  2. Do what you say you will do. “Before Jesus, I didn’t keep promises,” Scott said.
  3. Tell the truth. Jesus turned Scott into someone who told the truth instead of lying.

The book was full of helpful advice like this and I would recommend it for everyone, but especially for those who may be in prison or facing prison time. This book offers hope to those who may not have any hope. Scott’s life changed because of Jesus and his story is a fresh reminder that God is no respecter of persons. He saves anyone who calls upon his name.

“In the past, I lived a life bent on destruction. Now I live a life that builds a future for myself, my family, and the prisoners I minister to. I experience the rewards of consistent effort to do my best, serve God, and follow His lead. You can, too.”

Click here to purchase his book:

You can also listen to the podcast where I first mentioned Scott’s story here:

And you can catch up on related blog posts:

Scott Highberger – Good News

EP # 8 – Three Reasons You May Not Want More of the Holy Spirit in Your Life

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