Saturday, July 6, 2013

New Post: "The Blessings of a Criminal"

Who in this world has ever wished harm on someone else?
Have you?

Have you ever hoped for the demise of someone?
Perhaps the opponent to your favorite sports team.
Do you cheer their losses,
even more than your own teams success?

What about the co-worker you “can’t stand”?
You know, the one who seems superior in every way,
and whether intentional or not -
they somehow remind you of how much you lack.

Perhaps it is a boss,
or someone else who continually makes your life difficult.
Do you ever wish they would “get what they deserve”?

As the title to this post suggests... I am a criminal,
and yet I have received blessings for which I do not deserve.
I have a lovely wife, and two healthy children.
We have a home to call our own.
I served a prison sentence,
and spent three years without a regular job or income.
And yet this week at my new job, we had tremendous success!

It is a wonderful blessing - to receive recognition and reward,
for working hard to accomplish a difficult goal.
How did it occur?
I could say it was my determination,
or the terrific team of people who helped make it happen.
BUT - these are insufficient to the truth...
God has blessed me,
and I am grateful for all that He continues to bestow on me.

Why would God do such a wondrous things for me?

First, not because I deserve it.
I have done nothing to earn His gracious gifts.
I believe it is first because I turned to Him,
and began to acknowledge my need for Jesus
in every area of my life!

Second, because I began to walk in the ways Christ guides me.
By giving up my own desired outcomes, to instead trust Him more.
It is by absolute faith in God that all good things are given me.

Will it last?
Will I ever face trials again?
Do my days ever become easy?

I believe God provides what I need, 
more so than what I want.
I will not always have what I desire,
unless it is to seek more of God in my life.

This means even the struggles of my future can be resolved through Him.
And the easy life comes when I learn to trust in God to provide,
that which I cannot do on my own - such as peace.

Let me be clear in this -
I still see and hear evil each day, 
but I choose not to focus on it.
When people cannot learn to accept others,
and to even seek the other persons good,
it can become an ugly reality which never disappears.

I have witness people screaming at someone they dislike,
hoping they go to prison and find continual rape at the hands of many.
Is this a disturbing thought? Yes.
And yet we allow ourselves too much room for Satan to influence us,
by thinking these thoughts of evil and harm on someone else.

As such, I know that any day at my new job,
there could turn up a person who learns of my criminal past,
and they then turn to tell management of their refusal to work with me.
What happens then?
If my co-workers refuse to help me at my job,
do I then become an outcast?
Will I even be allowed to stay??
Yet I cannot focus on this possibility.
But instead on focus on the God who has brought me through to now.
And I trust He will bring me through again in the future.

So what of the criminals who have gone to prison,
deserving of their sentence, and perhaps worse?
Learn to do something new - Pray for them.
Pray they find God.
That they come to know Him inspite of any struggles they face.
Stop the spread of hate in your heart,
and start to think and pray for the benefit of your fellow man.
Even if it means the blessing of a criminal.

And Jesus said to the criminal next to Him,
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Will you condemn that whom Jesus blesses?

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