- Reform: To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Re-Post: “Will Criminals Reform & Change”
This last week has flown by, and many new developments are on the horizon for me & the work I do. If you do not know me, this is my life each day: follower of Christ, father, husband, mentor, coach. and volunteer. As such, the time I devote to reading for self-development and writing has diminished somewhat due to requests for my time, and in this I am grateful.
If you know me, but are unaware of my recent history, then this post may come as a surprise. It is a re-post from February of this year, and it discloses how I came to be a convicted criminal.
I often paraphrase and use quotes by other writers to emphasize something important. And I will continue to do so, but today is different. “I do not see myself as a writer, but more a traveler to whom God has given the desire, and perhaps responsibility, to journal."
In late July 2006, I caused a drunk-driving accident, injuring two people. For this I was charged with one DUII, and two counts of Felony Assault - for "using a car in a manner as to make it a deadly weapon, with the reckless disregard to the value of human life."
How did I come to this place? Especially with a respectable Master's degree from a solid university, a new "six-figure" income job, and a history for volunteering as a Big Brother?? Did I know Christ? Yes. Was I part of a church body? You bet... attending every Sunday, and tithing 10%. So, what happened?!?
Although I was born in America, I chose to live here in the United States and thus I am not here to argue the merits of a case, the fairness of laws, nor the severity of punishment handed out. Socrates philosophy has influenced this view for me, as I paraphrase here: "Having knowingly agreed to live under the city's laws, he implicitly subjected himself to the possibility of being accused of crimes by its citizens and judged guilty by its jury. To do otherwise would have caused him to break his "social contract" with the state, and so harm the state, an act contrary to his own principle."
So as a criminal myself, when did I reform and change? When I awoke in jail the next morning after my car accident, fell to my knees, and begged God to forgive me for not listening to Him, and for not seeking Him in all I do. My sin was pride. Things were going so well that I quit listening for God's guidance, and in fact I had outright told Him that I "had this", and He could take a break(from working on me) because I somehow falsely believed that I “knew” what I was doing!
The morning of my crash, driving to work early so I could start at 5am, I heard God plainly. He told me clearly, "Don't drive tonight." That seems simple, yet maybe hard to imagine - but it was early, and I was still coming fully awake. So I replied, "don't worry God, I got a designated driver arranged for tonight, so I won't be driving."
And later when the plans changed so I had to drive to meet the people who would later drive me home, I heard His voice again, "Don't drive home tonight." To which I once again said, "It's OK God, I have a DD planned for that!" But later, when I could not locate or reach my DD by phone, I grew angry, and impatient. And when the alcohol allowed me to convince myself that I could "make it home safely", I decided to drive myself.
Then on February 5th 2007, I began my prison sentence.
Does the fact I am a criminal saved by Christ change the truth; that God loves me & can use me to further His kingdom?
We may go to our grave not knowing why bad things happen. But God worked through the negative events in Joseph's life to pave the way for Moses, in spite of his crimes & sin. And King David, in spite of his crime & sin. And, through the family line, eventually the Messiah. Who died for us all. Never underestimate what God can do if you will make your heart open to His guidance... then wait & listen for Him to speak!