The Felons Dilemma

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Friday, May 21, 2010 at 2:29 AM

When it comes to people who have served time in prison I have very little experience. But over the last month God has allowed me to see a bit of their life and in some ways it has been an eye opener.

Last week I had a conversation with a man who was convicted of a crime, a felony over 30 years ago. As you listened to his life I saw that he had paid his debt to society long ago and that he had worked to do things right after that. Unfortunately, doing things right and serving his time was not enough to get him a job with most employers. He kept a good attitude but you could tell that the years had discouraged him to some extent.

Then on Saturday I read an article in the local newspaper about a young lady in her early twenties. She too had been convicted of a felony and she too had paid her debt to society. Unfortunately, the reporter ran into her at a job fair for strip clubs.

She had tried to get other jobs but could not find one that would help her support her young family. So desperation turned her into the direction of doing whatever she could to make ends meet and take care of her family.

The main problem with both of these folks and thousands just like them is that employers are not real excited to take a chance on someone with a criminal history. I can see both sides of the coin enough to know there is a real problem for both sides.

On one side there is forgiveness, consequences and redemption on the other side is the responsibility to take care of a business properly, the risk of someone going back to their old lifestyle and the overall good of a business. I will leave that debate for another day or for another forum.

Here is the important point for us spiritually; we are all felons in comparison to a Holy God.

With that thought in mind all of us convicts have some things in common. Let’s think about them:

  1. People love to do background checks, digging up our past to use it against us. Though God forgives and forgets sin man has a lot of trouble with it.
  2. When people see us they see the sin not the person. No matter how repented we are, no matter how long it has been; they see the liar, the cheat, the addict, etc.
  3. No matter what the consequence is, for some it is never enough. Certainly there are consequences for our sins here on earth, unfortunately a great deal of people love to play God and dole out their own consequences. We live in a bitter, jealous, angry world where people are far more concerned with getting a break as opposed to giving one.Makes you appreciate a loving and forgiving God all the more!
  4. Here is the tough one for most of us felons. We may pay the price, we seek forgiveness from those we have hurt and from God; but when we see ourselves we still see the crime committed. Even if others forgive us we have a great deal of trouble forgiving ourselves. We are never completely free until we have accepted the forgiveness offered by God and allowed ourselves to be forgiven.

We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Before a perfect God we are guilty pure and simple. How thankful I am; that when I come before the ultimate judge, Jesus will stand up for me, take my death sentence away and set me free forever. The judge will declare me not guilty and the matter will be settled once and for all.

Felon, yes. Forgiven and set free? You have to answer that question for yourself.


Romans 6:20-23, “As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn't have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you're proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end 22-23But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.

The Message by Eugene Peterson

Prayer: Dear Lord, we are thankful indeed that you have set us free from our sins. Help us to live our lives out as free people not shackled by the sins of our past or the lust of this world. These things are hard for us to do Lord, help us to use your strength provided by your spirit to live as you would have us. We ask these things in Christ name, Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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