As I sit on the edge of my prison bunk, I can literally feel my heart pounding. My forehead feels wet with sweat as I anxiously await the arrival of the guards. This is it, my time is up, and today I am going to die. I rest my head in my hands and stare down at my feet. How did I get here? I think of all the mistakes that lead me here to death row and all the wrong turns I always seemed to take. I see my mothers face warning me to stop, I see her tears on the day I was finally arrested. I think about the life I had before, my family and my friends. Today I feel forgotten, unwanted. I wonder if any of them on the outside realize that today I will die. I secretly wonder if they even care.
I look up at the cold block walls of a prison cell I have been in for so many years it has become the only comfort that I have. My institutional home. I can hear the sounds of nothing other than the clock in the ward ticking away every last second of my life. Tick, tick, tick, the sound is maddening. I told myself I would be brave, but I feel myself starting to fall apart. I keep wringing my hands, as a feeling of total remorse for every bad thing I have ever done begins to consume me.
For the first time in my life I feel overwhelmed with the emotion of true repentance, not just because I am about to be punished for my crimes, but repentant for the life I wasted chasing lies. Tears stream down my face as I hit my knees, broken in two by emotion, I weep from the deepest parts of my soul.
"I am sorry!" I cry out loudly. "God I am so sorry I feel so worthless, so lost " I choke out through tears of total sadness. "Please forgive me. Please, please, please God forgive me" I say with my face to the cold damp floor. "I need you Lord, please help this sinner, I am so sorry!"
I hear the familiar sound of the guards shoes as they walk down the cell block towards my cell. I can hear the jingle of his keys, even the sound of the way he breathes has become apart of who I am, my everyday routine. He stops at my door and says "inmate assume the position". I know it's time. This is it. I hear the buzz of the lock being released, the heavy clunk of the door sliding open and I brace for the handcuffs to be put on. I can still feel the tears rolling off my chin, but it doesn't matter. My heart is beating so hard inside my chest, I wonder if the guard can hear it. He looks at me with that familiar disdain and asks me to face him as he reads a letter from the governor. I brace myself as the sentence begins to be carried out.
I keep my eyes fixed on the floor as he begins to read…
"Let it be known on this date all charges and subsequent sentences for said charges have been officially fulfilled and satisfied to the full extent of the law by one named Jesus Christ. And as this debt has now been satisfied you are free to go."
What do you think that would feel like? Well if you are a Christian you know exactly what that feels like because you know what Jesus did for you on the cross is exactly that – he stood in your place and bore the punishment you lawfully deserved. He did it voluntarily for you. If you truly can wrap your mind around exactly what he so lovingly did for you then you will live in grace and love towards others. Without the grace of God we would be nothing more than doomed prisoners awaiting eternal punishment.
The model of forgiveness has been given – Jesus' love and sacrifice is perfect holiness. We must as children of God walk in love and grace and forgiveness with our fellow bothers and sisters, remembering that we can now fully love because Christ first loved us! And whom the son sets free, is free indeed!
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.