Monday, October 4, 2010


The Captain leaned back against the door frame and he began to explain."I had to leave my job as a Nurse for the prison. I couldn't do it anymore."
My mind leaped ahead as I thought "sure. The prisoners were cold, violent and lied all the time. I can understand that." That wasn't it. What he said would haunt me for a long, long time.

"One day I had a patient kill another patient." The room grew absolutely silent--the Captain was being sincere and vulnerable with us.

"One of my patients told the other one that he was going to kill him. The patient begged and begged the guards to keep him away saying "please, please don't let him in the medical ward. He's going to kill me. He said he's going to kill me." The man came in anyway through the hall that leads to the medical ward which comes right from out there in the yard. You have to be searched to get in, but somehow the man was able to bring in a ten-pound weight and homemade knife. "

The Captain then proceeded to quietly describe the relentlessly cruel, cold, and indisputably most brutally violent murder I'd ever heard of in my life.

"The only way he could have brought that weight in was if one of the guards had let him. That's when I realized that in the future I might one day make someone mad by not giving them a med they ask for and they could just come in and kill me. So I quit my job. But that wasn't what I couldn't reconcile.
The man who killed my patient had consecutive life sentences--he wasn't set to be released until the year three thousand thirty-five. My patient, the one he killed, was an outspoken child molester who was in prison for the fifth time and set to be released in a week. He had told the man "when I get out I'm going to find the first seven year old boy I can and--." That man killed him because he didn't want my patient to ever be released from prison.  "

I sat in silence. This story the Captain told, it had no conclusion. It was...a behemoth that devoured soullessly. Where was the redemption in what happened? Was that justice was served to the man who deserved it? That both men were in the prison system? Did the guards pay the man to carry out the unspeakably horrific act?
I couldn't--I couldn't understand this.

Here was a problem so huge it cannot be fixed. The justice system, Federal employees, murder, all was too much.
Saturday night I drove. I drove and drove and drove. My mind dogged the subject, at once both exhausted tirelessly. What was the answer? Was there one?
And slowly, slowly the shattered glass began to reflect light.

Everyone on earth knows of The Problem. The problem of humanity, the problem of pain, the problems of evil and sin. Whether or not they choose to believe in how and why these things are or take place, is up to them. Wealthy and starving, Christian or atheist, the world knows it's not perfect.
What was it that Jesus did in a world with so much hurt?
He reached out to individual people. The forgotten, the well-off, the prostitutes, those ready to believe and those who were about to stone in righteous anger. Jesus began his work at a very young age by teaching in the Synagogue, by doing the miracles of the water into wine and by healing the sick or the blind. Jesus healed not by abolishing blindness, but by spitting in the mud and wiping it on a man's eyes.
Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, they changed humanity by changing hearts.
On an individual basis.

This problem of a man who brutally murders another man, the guard who allowed it to happen, the victim who lived a sick, twisted life and desired to do unspeakable evils, this problem is not unsolvable. There is a fix. And it begins by hearts that are changed. The prisons, the judicial system and every other area of the world that is so apparently fallen can be changed by individuals who reach out and change hearts. By following the guidance of the Holy Spirit and sharing Jesus with them. The guard, the prisoner, the murderer and the evil man...each one of them needed the same thing.
And it's the same thing I need.
It's by grace alone I wasn't the guard, killer, or child molester. That is what each one of those men and the whole system needs. The grace of Jesus. I have been given a gift that every person on earth needs.
My purpose in life is about sharing that gift and serving the One who gave it to me.

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