“Bruno” had reached the pinnacle of success. He owned his own business, lived in a nice house, drove a fancy car and had a beautiful wife. It seemed that his happiness would never end. But soon problems surfaced and his marriage fell apart. Before long he did something he would live to regret.
I met Bruno when I visited the medical unit of the detention facility where I was chaplain. Bruno was a hulking figure with sad eyes – an expression that told you something was wrong.
“I’ve been trying to reach you for a long time,” Bruno said as he greeted me with a handshake. He then offered me a chair. The 30-year-old man rarely smiled and was often ignored by those around him. He felt that people were either afraid of him or they simply hated him. Either way, most people, including other inmates, would not give him the time of day.
Without any prompting from me, Bruno began to tell me his story as he started to cry. “I can’t believe I’ve ended up this way,” he said with tears coming down his face. “I’d never been in trouble with the law. I can’t believe this is happening.”
He told me that he was at the end of his rope. Loneliness had set in like a heavy sack and all he could see was despair. Eventually, Bruno said that he had started to think of how he would take his own life. As he sat in front of me with his elbows resting on his knees he said he had done the most horrible thing imaginable – he had killed another human being. “I’ve taken a man’s life … and I deserve whatever happens to me,” he said. He wiped his face and paused. Then he looked me in the eyes and asked: “But do you think God can forgive me?”
That question hit me with a wave of emotion as I thought about the Good News of Jesus Christ and how He came to save us from our sins. I eagerly shared the message of God’s grace with Bruno and then asked him a simple question, “Have you trusted Christ as your Savior?”
Shaking his head he said, “No,” and started sobbing profusely. When I asked if he would like to, he immediately said, “Yes.” He then bowed his head and prayed to receive Christ into his life. When he lifted his head he was beaming with a bright smile, and the expression with the sad eyes was no longer there.
Bruno’s life was so drastically transformed that he went from being the most despised and feared man in the facility to the most loved and respected. He found favor with all who worked around him. He accepted what he had done as sin and committed his future to God.
What God did for Bruno He will do for anyone who places his or her trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. God loves us and is more than willing to forgive us of our sins. He said: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins” (Isa. 43:25 NKJV). “God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him” (Dan. 9:9 NIV). Forgiveness of all our sins is available simply for the asking!
When I think of Bruno’s story, I’m reminded of the apostle Paul who was responsible for the deaths of Christians, but God’s grace made a difference in his life (1 Tim. 1:12-16; Acts 22:4,19-20). For this reason he could say: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15, NKJV).
It does not matter who you are or what you have done, God’s grace – His underserved kindness – is all you need. Jesus came into the world as a man and He died on the cross for you and me. Jesus shed His blood so that our sins could be washed away: “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His [Jesus’] name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission [forgiveness] of sins” (Acts 10:43). “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).
Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and He is alive right now. He longs to save you and to forgive you of all your sins. Will you accept God’s forgiveness? We can tell you more.
By Roscoe Barnes III