Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Truth Will Set You Free

After giving out a number of Bibles, Bible study lessons and "Daily Bread" devotionals, I sat down with a couple of guys. I knew Reed from previous visits to the jail. Billy was new to me.

"Are you a pastor?" he asked me. I told him that I was. "How can I have peace about my upcoming trial? It's all I can think about. I go to the church services they hold here. I see other guys singing, clapping, speaking in tongues--I feel a little better when I'm there. But then I leave and continue to worry about my trial."

Billy told me that he had come back to the Lord within the last week. He had grown up going to church, but fell away. (By the way, the vast majority of inmates I meet have some church background.) I had no idea--and didn't ask--why he was in jail.

"Billy," I answered him, "if you want to have peace you need to be completely honest with your lawyer and with the judge. Tell the whole truth. Take responsibility for whatever it is you're responsible for." I went on to tell him about how I had hurt someone when I was 14 years old and lied about it to protect myself. "My relationships with people and with God suffered as a result of my covering it up," I explained. "I held onto this for eleven years."

I went on with my story: "Thirteen years ago, I was hanging out with a handful of Christian guys. (This was soon after the Lord called me to be a pastor.) We were praying and sharing with each other what was going on in our lives. The Holy Spirit began to move in our little group, and one by one each guy began to confess sin to the whole group. There was a lot of heavy stuff shared. As I was sitting there, I felt the Lord's hand heavy upon me that I needed to share what had happened eleven years earlier. After I did so, I felt a huge release--like a weight I had been carrying was suddenly lifted. Not only did I confess it to those guys, but also to the people I had hurt and lied to." I explained to Billy that I no longer felt the devil's condemnation. I had finally been set free.

After listening to my story, Billy said, "As soon as you said that I needed to tell the truth, something pierced my heart. I knew that was right. I know that's what I need to do." He began to weep for the first time. "The devil is tormenting me; but I'm afraid to tell the truth. I'm afraid of the consequences, of spending a long time in prison."

"If you lie," I told him, "you may be free on the outside, but you'll be in prison on the inside. God is merciful, Billy. Tell the truth. You will experience His mercy."

"I know He's merciful; I believe that," Billy responded.

Reed and I looked at each other and said to Billy, almost simultaneously, "The truth will set you free."

Billy left soon after that. Pray for him. I can feel for him and the difficult situation he is in. Pray that the Holy Spirit continues to prick his conscience and that he finds freedom and peace with Christ by coming clean.


Blogger Yannick said...

Will do Brian.

12:56 AM  

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