Friday, April 29, 2011

To Walk As Christ Called Me

Where are the places we want to go least,

yet most likely where Christ would go

to help and encourage others?


A brief list of people and places we may see Jesus if He were among us today:

  • jails & prisons

  • leper colonies

  • death-row

  • burn units

  • orphanages

  • slums

  • terminally ill

  • elderly-retirement homes

  • between the firing lines on a battle field

  • among the survivors of environmental catastrophes


Do we need to ask why?

The world may think you are crazy if you were to visit these same locations, but isn’t that precisely what was thought of Jesus?

Is it so bad to be thought of this way?


In the courthouse on the day of my sentencing, I came to face the 40 year-old woman, and her 60 year-old mother, whom I injured in my drunk-driving accident. Both read statements about the suffering they experienced. Thereby I was convicted of two felony assaults, and as a result received two consecutive 25 months prison terms. This all I agreed to beforehand, so when the sentence was read it did not come as a surprise.


Immediately after I turned my back on the judge and went to my knees, asking both of my victims for their forgiveness. I told them both how sorry I was for their injuries, and wished I could have taken them upon myself. A few minutes after, when I was in shackles and waiting to be escorted out, the DA brought the ladies nearby to have an opportunity to see me restrained, and to speak to me once more. The 40 yr-old said she would never get over the scenes in her mind of her mother being carted away to the ambulance, and that she may never be able to accept my apology. The 60 yr-old smiled weakly and said she forgave me. But then, the 80 year-old grandmother came up and said she would be praying for me while I served my time.


So which one do you think I remember best?

Undoubtedly, the 40 yr-old.

But which did I need to hear most?

The 80 year-old grandmother, who went out of her way to identify herself and let me know that she believed God would protect me because He had already pardoned me.


Why?


Because the first one is the lie Satan wants us to remember most, thereby denying us the forgiveness of Christ to ever truly take hold in our hearts. And because the truth is that God was there with me the entire time, walking beside me and speaking to me in many small moments that I learned to recognize because I came to fully trust in Him.


So, one way I hope to see this blog develop is as an encouragement to those who need it most.


And, if God allows it, to end this blog on February 5th 2012, the day my parole is finished, to then become a resource web-page for those who are ex-convicts, felons, or who simply have an arrest record to limit them. Where we can share stories of encouragement. Trade ideas for finding jobs or self-employment. And exchange information about where to go for help in overcoming the barriers to successful re-entry, and a new life.

The Jesus told Peter,

“And when you have turned back,

strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32(b)

What does it mean to you, to “put on the face of Christ”?

If you already do so, the How does it look to others??

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