Pursue Peace With All People

odb.org pinterest photoPsalm 34:14
Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

Dear Readers,
As I am writing this, I have 9 days left until I am sentenced.  It has been such a long journey through the jail system.  Soon I will transition to the prison system.  I have had my differences with some of the staff and inmates here, but I have done my best to remain peaceful.  The Lord has put it on my heart not to be bitter, no matter my circumstances.  And thus, I have chosen to leave here in peace.

There was a man here who sometimes called me racial slurs and did his best to aggravate me to no end.  We had the occasional argument and spouted obscenities to one another over the past year.  But, I never could stay mad at him.  God showed me his pain.  He gave me a heart for this man.  I see beyond his racist tattoos and rhetoric.  I see a man who is hurting and in need of love and guidance.  I see a man who needs Jesus.  This man and I had an argument about a month ago and we did not speak for several weeks.  When I was denied a new trial, he read about it in the paper.  I hadn’t seen him for two weeks.  He had stopped going out to the rec yard, but the day after he read the news, he came outside.  He walked over to me, shook my hand and gave me a huge hug. [He is a giant of a man.]  He said, “I am so sorry for you, Randall.  It is not right – your not getting a new trial.  I am praying for you, brother.”  What a beautiful sentiment.  It warms my heart just to think of it.

You see, even though that man claimed not to like people of color, I never stopped trying to be his friend.  I gave him advice whenever he asked for it.  I encouraged him to go to church.  Why?  Because that is what the Lord expects us to do.  God teaches us to be that way in the scriptures.  I take comfort in the fact that I am leaving here at peace with that man.  I have made peace with as many people as I am able to.  And, you know what?  It feels wonderful.

There are many here who spew hate at me that I am unable to make peace with because I do not have access to them.  But, I still have peace in my heart towards them and wish them well.  Peace is so much better than discontent.  We should pursue it with great vigor.  When we are at peace, our relationship with God and each other becomes stronger.  We also become better equipped to fight stress and ward off satan.

I do not know what will happen to me when I get to prison.  I do know that many people wish me harm.  They hate me for something I did not do.  It is possible that I may be injured or killed.  I pray that I am not forced to defend myself, for I do not wish to ever harm another human being.  Yet, even in the face of such threats, I feel peace.  Praise God!  I cannot trust this justice system to keep me safe, but I can trust that God’s will – will be done.  And, no matter what happens, I will most assuredly go to heaven.  Thus, I am at peace and I am ready to face whatever may come.  That is how awesome God’s presence in my life is.  It is beyond words or measure.  The closer I get to Him, the less I am afraid and the more peace I have.  I have never felt such calmness in my life.  There are many, many people praying for me and I want you all to know that those prayers are being heard.

God is with me, for sure.  And, He wants to be with all of you.  All you have to do is let Him in your heart and allow Him to do His mighty work in you.  Let go of hate, anger, stress and strife.  Give everything over to God and live a peaceful life.  Amen!

May God bless and keep you!  May you allow Him to work on your heart!  May you pursue peace with all people!
Love in Christ,
(a man who is currently content and at peace)