Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d end up in prison.
As far back as I can remember, since my teens, God has always blessed me. I had good jobs, good health, protection from danger in every country I travelled for work or pleasure, God has always been with me. God has performed amazing miracles in my life and still does even in prison.
However, my life changed in the blink of an eye in 2018. I was charged and I pleaded guilty to murder! My world came crashing down as I now experienced the guilt of breaking one of the 10 commandments: Exodus 20:13. You shall not murder. I felt sick, I felt I had let God down and betrayed my Jesus. It seemed to me my life as a Christian had ended. Instead, I viewed myself with a big black stain on my heart and it would never go away.
I knew there is forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ, but what I had done was something big; not some petty lie, not cheating someone, not having lustful desires or thoughts. This was murder even though it was unintentional. I could not forgive myself and I was shattered, believing God wouldn’t forgive me. Every day I prayed Psalm 51:1,2,10 …
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit
I prayed everyday pleading the blood of Jesus Christ and begging God’s forgiveness because that’s what I needed. I may have received justice but no matter what the sentence or how many years I spent in prison; this was not going to change my need of God’s forgiveness. I was reading Scriptures …
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He have removed our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:12).
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25).
But nothing shifted for me. There was something missing and I kept wondering what it could be?
One day the answer came as I read …
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
This was my answer. I was carrying unforgiveness and bitterness in my heart for one person who was a witness at court. She was like a sister to me, a close friend known since childhood; she was someone who I trusted a lot, but she testified against me. If the testimony was true, it would not have mattered to me but most of it was false testimony. I felt betrayed by my trusted friend.
After reading this scripture, I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me to forgive her. I just sat in silence for a while, but this picture of Jesus and Peter kept coming to my mind – the betrayal of Peter toward Jesus & yet Jesus forgave him. Thoughts crowded my mind: if my heart’s desire is to be like Jesus then I must forgive this person. After all, Jesus died on the cross for me, He shed his blood for me, & I cannot fail my Saviour again! I need to forgive this person. I finally said: Lord I forgive this person and I pray you bless her and her children.
I felt the burden lift off my shoulders, I felt a sudden release inside of me. It was then I realised because of the bitterness and unforgiveness I was carrying I could not experience God’s forgiveness in my life. Praise God I don’t feel that guilt anymore. The blood of Jesus has cleansed me, washed me, and purified me of my guilt, shame, and sin. I thank God for all His goodness and mercy shown towards me.