Saturday, January 05, 2013

Aren't you afraid of me? After all, I'm a murderer!

The chairs sat empty and the church quiet when a dark, disheveled figure wandered through the open door. Rich Vallette, the pastor of the church in the Dominican Republic, and a Crossworld worker, looked up to study the stranger. Despondent and bewildered, he had walked in the church's open door seeking help.

"I am going to commit suicide today," he said. "I need someone to pray for me." After praying for him, Rich invited the man into his office and asked him to share his story.

The church in the Dominican Republic
where this story took place.
Lucieno had made murder his living. As a hit-man, he just finished a 14-year prison term. His guilt for the bloodshed of victims and the trauma of their families pushed him into crushing despair. "Death is the only way out of my miserable state," he said. "I'm here as a last resort before taking my own life."

Rich continued listening to the killer's story until Lucieno blurted out, "Aren't you afraid of me? After all, I'm a murderer!"

"No, I'm not afraid," Rich answered. "You're the one that needs to be afraid. I have Jesus and you don't." To Rich's amazement, Lucieno didn't threaten him or run away, but shouted, "That's what I need! It's Jesus!" But then Lucieno's joy at discovering the source of redemption turned to fear. "How could Jesus possibly forgive a sinful man like me who has taken people's lives and caused so much pain?"

"Jesus has already paid for your sin on the cross," Rich said. "Have you heard of the apostle Paul? He was like you in many ways. He tortured and murdered Christians, but Jesus forgave him! God transformed Paul's life and gave him a new mission: bring others to experience Jesus' forgiveness as well."

That was all Lucieno needed to hear. "Jesus, forgive my sins," he prayed aloud. "I don't deserve it, but would you give me a new life like Paul?" Lucieno raised his head and gave a huge smile - a brilliant expression of his new life in Christ.

(from Light, the Crossworld newsletter, November 2012)

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