I read the saddest letter yesterday. It was from a man I am writing who lives on Death Row. I’m sharing it because I want my readers to realize that the people who live on Death Row are real. I know getting past their crimes in your mind is a difficult thing to ask. I struggle at times to see them through the eyes of Christ.
I don’t usually look up the ‘rap sheets’ of the people I write. Last Friday, I wanted to update my mailing list. Most times, a person’s criminal history is public information and freely available on the Internet. I couldn’t help but be curious enough to scroll down the page and see what their crimes were.
My stomach was literally churning by the time I was done updating my list. It’s true – I write people who were once murderers, rapists, drug dealers, prostitutes and thieves. It’s also true that these are the labels they must wear until the sound of death rattles in their throats.
The most important truth is that many of these people are now walking in the light of Christ. They are no longer known by their past deeds in the eyes of God, although they must live out the consequences of their actions here on earth. Some of them are having a very hard time at just ‘living’ on a day to day basis.
… which brings us to my friend, William. He was imprisoned when he was 27 – today he is 54. He is not walking with Christ although He has indicated an intense desire to ‘surrender all’. His letter reflects the hopelessness he feels daily. His letter cries out for God… one day, I hope he will truly meet Him.
Letters like this always catch me by surprise. I always want to write back quickly… but I have learned to wait 24 hours and to pray about my response.
I’ll be writing William tonight. Pray for me… but mostly – pray for William.