My 13-year stay in prison gave me a lot of time to think about the bad decisions I had made. I remember only bits and pieces from my last night of freedom that preceded prison, and the two people I was with were dead soon after. I’ll never know exactly what happened when I was in that drunken state of mind. My last vague memory before waking up in a hospital was seeing a cop car stop along the road beside me as I was hit with a beam of light; then I heard, “Get down on the ground!” I was told I was drenched in blood, and that earlier that day my victim and I both were walking around outside, bloodied up a bit. It’s terrible that I can’t remember the day that had such a major impact on my life.
It wasn’t easy for me to have remorse for almost killing a man who first attacked me with extreme rage. He wasn’t a good person, he’d done a lot of bad things to a lot of people, and afterwards I heard people were saying they would like to shake my hand. Before any of this my victim told me details about him beating up an ex-girlfriend. She cried as the beating continued, then managed to keep quiet when he raised his fist and demanded, “Quit crying!” I hid the disgust I felt when hearing it, trying to reassure myself he was sincere when saying he had remorse. I knew he hadn’t changed when seeing how he acted those last days I spent with him, and as I sat in prison I thought about him enjoying life as a free man. Seven months later I learned that he and the woman we were with the night everything happened were both dead. They were in a hotel, others heard yelling and screaming coming from their room, and then the woman was found dead. He was released after being questioned about her “suspicious death.” Two days later he hanged himself.
While in prison, after my victim was dead, I wrote a letter of apology to his parents for what I put them through. I should have written it sooner, because right away I felt terrible for the grief I caused them. Feeling bad for what I put their son through wasn’t so easy. I was dwelling on what he had done to me and others, and that he deserved to be alone for the way he treated women. I thought about the terror they must have felt when they were at his mercy. I hate to admit it, but deep down I felt relief when hearing he was dead, knowing he could hurt no one else. I should have been disappointed that he didn’t repent of his ways. As time dragged on, I started to feel so bad for his parents. First their son almost died at my hands, and then he took his own life after taking another life. From what I knew, they were really good people and I remember hearing they were upset that he beat up the girlfriend he’d told me about.
No one wants to believe someone close to them is a bad person, and it’s a shame that they are often punished too when their loved one is. One of my cellies in prison, a lifer, came back to the cell one day after getting off the phone and told me about his mom crying that she was separated from him. I knew from talking to this guy that he had murdered at least seven people, and he admitted to me that he deserved a worse punishment than he had. But his mom was being punished too. That’s the terrible downside to justice in this life. Things will be different in the next life. Currently many tears are shed for unsaved loved ones who have passed into eternity, but the sorrow will be gone in Heaven. It’s a bitter-sweet thought. While I have joy to look forward to, some people I love have already sealed their fate and are destined to be weeping and gnashing their teeth in the next life (Luke 13:27, 28). All of them are good by human standards, which makes it more difficult.
The humanist mindset would have you believe everyone who is merely nice goes to Heaven. It’s a satanic delusion and one I address in my essay called Corruption in the Church. One thing I do share with humanists, however, is their love for people. After 13 straight years of a hostile environment, it was very pleasant for me to enter a new world where most people were nice and treated each other with respect. Having this new world disrupted brings back bad memories of where I came from. It was in prison where I developed the strong hatred for victimization I now have. God can and does pardon people who commit crime, but I’m a very strong supporter of enforcing the justice system. (Read my post called Forgetting the Past.) Back to the point, my message here is that sin is sin, all of which will be punished in the next life for those who don’t repent. It will be fair and just, punishing only those who deserve it to the degree that they deserve it.
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