“I was so angry… but today, with your message of the love of Jesus, I know I’ve been wrong.”
We were encouraged as the men from West Shoreline Correctional welcomed us back with much joy. They let us know how much they appreciated our coming again and bringing them hope through song and word. One older gentleman cried through the whole concert. We have seen him each time we have come and he always raises his hands and gives God praise with a grateful heart of love toward God. He has been in prison for many years and will most likely die there. He has some health issues, many missing teeth, and is in pretty bad shape physically–as prison life is extremely difficult. He wanted to talk to me about my songs and how I write them. He said he listens to our music every day and it means so much to him and helps him get through the bad days.
As I looked on his rough appearance I couldn’t help but think about how much God loves this precious man. God looks on the heart; we are so often focused on the outward appearance that it can be difficult at times to show Christ’s love to another who is not wearing nice clothes or is not well-groomed. We ask God to remove any scorn we might have and love these men with the same love that Christ does.
At the end of the concert, as we were talking and sharing with the men, a gentleman came up to Wayburn and said, “I need to apologize to you and your wife.” When Wayburn asked him why, he explained that when the concert had started he was angry because he was very prejudiced against us as an interracial couple. His mom had married a black man who was abusive to him—so he had felt deep anger in his heart toward us because of what he had gone through personally. However, after a few songs and after I spoke, and as he saw Wayburn and I interacting together, he said his heart was softened. He said, “Today, with your message of the love of Jesus, I know that I’ve been wrong—I’ve apologized to God and I never want to have hatred in my heart again.” He continued, “Hatred is evil and it keeps you from the happiness God wants for you.” Wayburn replied, “Amen” and encouraged him that it is in God’s love where peace abides. “No apologies are necessary, just love God, your family, and your brothers, and He will be pleased.” This man came forward to receive Christ and repented of his hatred and anger. God is so good and He is at work in the prisons. We give Him all the glory!