Back in August of 2012 I posted about an experience I had at our local jail. Approximately 18 yrs. ago a friend of mine was murdered during a drug deal. One night while sharing my testimony with a group I shared about my friend and how a 17 yr. old young man shot him and he died. Well the young man was charged and received a prison sentence of which he did a portion of and was released. Sometime after his release from prison he was picked up for another charge so he had to do some more time. This is where I came into this story.
We were sharing the Word and our testimony’s at the jail, and I told them about my friend and how he died. I said, “No one was in the right in this whole situation. My friend shouldn’t have been buying drugs and the 17 yr. old shouldn’t have been selling them, so I’m not pointing fingers at anyone.” I implored them, “What are we doing to each other?”
After the service was over a man stood waiting for me to finish talking with another guy so I asked, “Are you waiting for me?” With tears running down his face he said, “Yes, I need to ask you to forgive me.” I had never seen this guy before so I was a bit confused as to what he was talking about so I said, “For what?” He said, “I’m the guy who shot your friend.” I’m sure I had to have a stunned look on my face but I told him “Of course I forgive you,” and I put my arm on his shoulder and asked him if I could pray with him. He said, “Yes”, so I prayed with him and we parted ways. Apparently this guy has gotten out of jail since and our meeting back in August had a profound impact on his life.
There is this young lady Tracey spoke with for a full year while she was incarcerated who knows this guy. Tracey went to visit her the other day and she had quite the story to tell. Her children had several of their friends over visiting and one of them just so happened to be this guy’s daughter. When he came to pick her up they had a conversation that included me. You see this young lady, Tracey had talked with for so long, knew the story I just told you and somehow she mentioned “Louie” to the guy.
As they talked he said, “I gave my life to God that day.” He couldn’t remember that much about what I said but he told her, “That man had compassion on me!” He said, “it’s strange because I was just thinking about him today, and every time I see a white guy with long hair I look to see if it’s Louie.”
As amazing as this story is, as it unfolds, the thing about this that really stuck with me was how he didn’t necessarily remember any specific thing that was said, but he remembered how I showed him compassion. So, if you’re one of those that worry about getting all your words correct or fearful you don’t know what to say, the answer is to show mercy and grace to others; oh yeah, and don’t forget a little bit of compassion goes a long way.