Oh, I'm doing great, they tell you. Me and God are good.
Have you been going to church since you got out, you ask.
Well, no...I've been too busy for that but I pray.
A month later they're back.
Some come back again and again. But I've seen people change too. There are some in our ministry who can tell the women they know just how they feel because years ago they were incarcerated too. And then they go on to explain what enabled them to REALLY change and they speak about Jesus.
When people speak about Jesus coming into their lives, they have learned what real change is. We all know some who have changed through sheer dogged determination and made their lives better. But there is no change that releases the burden of sin no matter how much changing they do on their own unless it is the change that Jesus is able to bring.
He is the only one who can forgive sin because He was the only one who was able to pay for it.
Last night, I read a poem to the women. Several commented on it so I decided to share it here. It is about a man who never changes and it's called, Remorseless.
By: Regina Russell
He turned the television off and leaned back in his chair.
Bordered by smoke from cigarettes he breathed the musty air.
But when his eyelids closed in sleep the old man gave a start
His final thought—“A ton of bricks has dropped onto my heart!”
Instantly, (or maybe he had slept—he didn’t know,)
The old man stood upon a hill with stubbly fields below.
“That was your life,” a solemn voice announced to his stunned ears.
“You had the land; you had the time but nothing good grows here.”
And then a child came running through the wasteland up to him,
“I was your son,” he screamed in pain. “I wish I hadn’t been!”
And then another climbed the hill to meet his guilty eyes.
“I was your daughter,” she proclaimed. “I know how childhood dies.”
He moved his mouth—no words came out—excuses, lies were gone.
And then the voice spoke once again, “See what you spent them on.”
Compelled by force to look down towards the ground the old man groaned,
He saw beneath his feet the discards of the life he’d owned.
New terror rushed into his mind. He knew that God had seen,
Each secret he had tried to hide—each sin—each selfish scheme.
“Forgive me!” he cried out in fear—then in surprise—awoke!
And saw his television set and smelled the musty smoke.
He sat up with a lively grin—shook his head in disbelief.
“What a nightmare!” he exclaimed and chuckled in relief.
Another beer—he stumped his toe—then cursed an awful stream,
At God for causing him to trip, the pain and the bad dream.
I know people like this....people who blame God for their lot in life and refuse to do anything about it because they don't think they can change. They are bound by their sin as surely as if they were being led around by it like a dog on a collar can be led around by its master.
But know this: There is One who can break the chain. There is One who can bring real and lasting change into your life. There is One who can free you from the addictions and lead you to peace.