A LETTER OF HOPE, REDEMPTION, FORGIVENESS AND NEW LIFE


I went to school with Bob and Cheryl Moeller, who now live in Chicago. Cheryl showed me this letter she received from a Native American friend. I asked permission to reprint it here.

From Shirley Duncan, National Church Representative Hephzibah Children's Home Ministries

Hello Cheryl,

I called my mother early Sunday morning to check on her. My stepbrother answered the phone. He is younger than I am. He has been in the hospital with pneumonia, but is doing better. He was visiting my mother. Carl has lived a rough, violent life using drugs. He was an alcoholic and has been in prison a number of times. He has been living like his father lived, the stepfather who was so abusive to me and the entire family growing up.

After his last prison sentence, Carl started thinking that he needed to change his life. He did not want to go back to prison. He has two sons in prison who are serving life sentences for murder. Carl has burned many bridges and ended up homeless. He could not get a public job because of his prison background. He has worked odd jobs, doing whatever he could here and there. He rakes leaves and mows yards. He started working with a cousin in lawn care and was able to buy a small camper to move into. He is an excellent flower gardener and has a reputation for being a hard worker. He walks, rides his bicycle or he depends on others for transportation.

A businessman was told by a friend what a hard worker Carl was, so he said, “I'd like to hire him to do some yard work.” When the friend and Carl arrived at the 'businessman's' home, Carl saw the man and said, "I know that man! He's the District Attorney who sent me to prison three times! Get me out of here!” The friend talked him into staying. When the businessman (District Attorney) saw Carl he couldn't believe his eyes.

"Mr. Scott!" he said.

My brother said, "Sir, I ain't the same Scott you saw in the courts years ago and sent to prison! I know you were just doing your job and I ain't up to bad stuff anymore!"

The DA let him stay and work, and my brother became his regular lawn care man. He was impressed with his skills and the quality of his work. During November and December Carl had to work in the cold and rain. He got very ill and ended up in the hospital.

Carl said, "Sis, you won't believe the call I got two days ago! This District Attorney told me to take care of myself and get better and not try to work in this rainy bad weather. Whatever you need, my wife and I will take care of it! If you need food or money, you call me! Sis, do you know who this man was?"

“He's the man that sent me to prison three times! Well, he didn't send me to prison, I sent myself; he was just doing his job! I can't believe how bad I was and this District Attorney that sent me off to prison has called and told me to stay inside and not work, just to get better and he will take care me! I been so bad in my life and this is humbling me!"

My response, "Carl, that's just like our Heavenly Father; it doesn't matter what we have done, He's always there with open arms waiting for us to come home!"

Carl's sister is right: that's just like our Heavenly Father. He's waiting for us to repent (turn around) and come home. It's also a lesson in forgiveness. Billy Graham once said that half of the hospital beds in America are filled with people whose sickness can be directly or indirectly related to unforgiveness. I don't know how accurate his percentage is, but the point is well taken: Unforgiveness affects every aspect of our lives. It is an acid that eats up everything it touches, including the container. It's also a terrifying command at the end of the Lord's Prayer: “...if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (emphasis mine)

I hope to meet Carl someday. He is a modern prodigal son. And I hope to meet the DA: He represents our Heavenly Father Who waits for us at 'home' and longs to forgive us.

 

Common Ground Ministries

John was singing in a country western band at the time of his conversion in 1972. God changed his desire for stardom in Nashville to minitstry.

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