Martin Was Guilty

A Fictional Narrative

Guilty of what, you might ask? Well, pretty much everything. Martin had grown up in a neighborhood where crime was prevalent. His youth was spent as a member of a gang. His actions during his formative years would lead to a more brazen disregard for the law as he matured. Martin, by his own admission, was a man with little regard for society and the laws that protect it from people like him. By the time his teenage years had passed, Martin had been in and out of juvenile facilities, and jail, a number of times. The older he got, the more brazen his crimes became. Until finally he was charged with the killing of a man. We cannot even venture a guess as to what other crimes Martin had committed prior to his arrest for this murder. But let it be known that, according to his police file, they were many and very serious in nature.

After being convicted of this senseless murder; Martin was sentenced to be put to death by lethal injection. He spent his time in solitary confinement with no contact with the outside world. This was Martin’s choice. He did not want any visitors. He had no family, and all those he knew were either in prison or on the run from the law. Martin had resigned himself to the fact that the ultimate outcome for his crimes should be death by lethal injection. He felt it was what he deserved. It was just a matter of when this would come about. There were many on death row that had been there for quite a while.

Knowing that it might be some time before he faced death was not comforting to Martin. He spent his days alone with his thoughts and wanted the time for his execution to come as soon as possible. While in solitary confinement; Martin had nothing but time to think about his life and the life he had taken. The small market He had robbed was owned by an older man that Martin had known growing up in the neighborhood. The mask he wore during the robbery was not enough to hide his identity from the owner. The owner called him by name and begged him to just take the money and not harm him. Martin had pulled the trigger that had ended this man’s life and he now regretted it every day as he sat alone with his thoughts. The man had always been kind to him when Martin came into the store. But the knowledge that this man knew him, and that he would be arrested for the crime, caused Martin to do the unthinkable. He constantly thought about that moment and that fateful decision to end a life.

Martin now lived with the knowledge that he had killed this man while committing a crime. The man had a family and he had now been taken from them. The terribleness of what he had done in that store that day played out over and over again in Martin’s mind. He lived with guilt every day. He also thought about all the other crimes he had committed against those that were weaker than him, and for which, he had shown no mercy. Robbing and stealing from those that had little in life and were easy marks. How had it come to this? How could he live with himself with all he had done? It all played out over and over again in his mind. He wondered if the other men in solitary were going through what he was going through with the guilt that plagued his every thought.

One day a guard came by and asked Martin if he wanted to attend a church service. It was not common for those in solitary to be allowed out for anything except for showers and exercise. A pastor and church members from a prison ministry in a local church had come to the prison for a service. At first, Martin scoffed at the idea of attending, but as the guard passed by a second time; Martin asked to attend the service. Martin wasn’t sure why he asked to attend. Was it to break up the monotony of his daily life, or was there more to it?

When Martin arrived at the service in shackles and accompanied by guards; the service had already begun. There were many there from the regular prison population along with a couple prisoners, like himself, who were from solitary confinement. They were also in shackles and accompanied by guards. Music was playing and he noticed most were singing along. The words to the songs were posted on a large board at the front of the hall. Martin also noticed some of the men were raising their hands as the music played. This was all very strange to Martin. He had never witnessed anything like it. Martin probably wouldn’t admit it to anyone if asked, but He was enjoying all that he saw.

After the music ended, a man, who Martin assumed was a pastor, stood behind a podium and began to speak. He welcomed everyone in the Name of the Lord and said a prayer of blessing over the service. The pastor then preached on the following verse of scripture:

For God so loved the world that he gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life” (John 3:16).

The pastor said that Christ had come and died on the Cross for the sins of mankind. He said that Jesus, in paying for our sins, offers Eternal Life to all those that repent of their sins and place their faith in Him and His sacrificial death at Calvary. He mentioned the thief on the Cross who had asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom. The pastor said that Jesus responded to the thief in this way: “Today shall you be with me in Paradise.” It was a powerful message that the pastor preached and none of it was lost on Martin.

Martin was returned to his cell. He could not get over what he had just heard. The pastor said that Jesus died for our sins. Would that include him with all the horrible wrongs he had done in his life? And what about the thief next to Jesus on the cross? He had obviously done enough wrong to warrant crucifixion, and yet Jesus said that he would be with Him in Paradise. Martin was overwhelmed by all this. Could the Lord love him? Could he be forgiven?

The pastor that had preached that day had a habit of visiting anyone that had attended for the first time. He came to Martin’s cell and Martin asked him about all he had preached that day. The Pastor assured him that the Lord would forgive him of all the wrongs he had done. He, like the thief on the cross, could be forgiven and spend eternity with the Lord. Martin prayed The Sinner’s Prayer that day and made things right with the Lord. Joy filled his heart as he worshiped the Lord.

Martin wrote a letter to the family of the man whose life he had taken. He asked for their forgiveness and told them that the Lord had changed him. That he was not the same man that had committed that awful crime. The family of the man received Martin’s letter with joy. They were Christians and had already forgiven him and had been praying for him. They became advocates for Martin and were instrumental in having Martin’s sentence commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Today, Martin is still in prison and serves the Lord with all his heart. He is unsure of what might happen to him regarding his time in prison, but he is now sure of his future after he passes from this life. He will be with the One that loved Him and reached down in His great mercy and saved him. He now lives each day with thanksgiving and great joy.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Always Remember,

God Loves You!

See The Sinner’s Prayer page on this website. Link below!

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Here I Am, Lord – Tom Quinn Ministries – 2023

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