THERE ARE NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE
Clad in blue denims, behind prison bars, the man's face wrenched with sorrow as he recalled the heinous crimes he had once committed. He cried in anguish, earnestly repenting, then acccepting the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. I later went home and would not comfort my child whose eyes were filled with saddness over his misconceived inability to please me in anything he did.
On another day, a man in an insane asylum pleaded for the Gospel to be delivered unto him, so we stayed late into the wee hours of morn. He was wrought with torment from the abuse he had caused so many. When the Lord saved him, he wept uncontrollably for hours. On the way home, I passed a brother on the street in twenty-degree weather who needed but a cup of coffee to stay warm (or numb) from the darkness which consumed him--but I looked the other way.
A young man distraught after beating a man to death, screamed so much and so loud for God's forgiveness that there were streaks of blood on the walls within his jail cell. But I had left an older couple stranded on the side of the road earlier, too hurried to be bothered by the routine and mundane.
Oneof our parishioners would never forget the mercy God extended to him through his wife when she allowed him to return to the family after a multitude of adulterous affairs. But I was unable to forgive my Dad, for simply who he was.
An abandoned child who I had once declined to help, who literally cried himself to sleep each night because he had no parents. By the grace of God, he now enoys being the father of eight beautiful children. But I was too consumed with self to be a Big Brother to anyone who was not flesh of my flesh.
A man came down to the alter last week, dedicating himself to the Lord. His past was so sordid, I did everything I could to avoid him after that. I see, now, that I must now avoid my prison ministry if I am to continue to avoid him.
I waited two hours to see another individual on Death Row who had, for more than a year, studied God's Word with us-- fully understanding that he was now ready for a relationship with God. But I would not have had the time to wait had I not grown impatient at the grocery check-out, leaving prematurely, because of some frail and weary woman who did not know what food to return because she had underestimated her spending by two dollars.
Last week I helped bring a man to the Lord who had lied to and defrauded everyone in his family. He was truly sorry for what he had done. I suppose he'll never forgive himself. He is indeed a changed man. But it was I who told my daughter last night to tell anyone who called that I was not at home.
Last month we began working with AIDS patients who are in the last stages of that dreadful disease. So many of them love God with all of their heart. I suppose they always had. They just got off track somehow. But last year it was me who remarked , 'I thought that boy acted a little strange,' when I first heard that our neighbor Timothy had been diagnosed with HIV. Come to find out, yesterday, while officiating his funeral, his mother assured me that he had acquired the disease through an earlier blood transfusion. Timothy, her son, who now laid before me had donated bone marrow to a child with Leukemia. She stated that Timothy had died knowing that he had given his life so that another might live. And I ripped my shirt in anguish, lamenting, pleading for forgiveness. For there are none righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3.10.)
by: R. Chhristopher