A Day at a Time: Exonerated
By Scott Harrup
Apr. 27, 2014
While editing this Key Bearers special issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, two quotes hijacked my attention. They are not long quotes. They stand alone, independent of any feature or news item. You can read the brief statements of Henry James and Cornelius Dupree in They Said It on page 25.
James and Dupree each served 30 years in prison. Each was exonerated after completing what amounted to a life sentence.
I struggled to comprehend what it would be like to spend decades incarcerated for something I had not done. The sense of irrecoverable loss. The shame of knowing others believed I had done something reprehensible.
Pondering James and Dupree, I thought of the unknown number of people who commit crimes as brutal as those the men were accused of and who are never caught. Such people go through life wearing a façade of respectability, perhaps even lauded by their communities.
Anytime I contemplate the relative guilt and innocence of individual human beings, however, I am confronted with a sobering truth that encompasses all of humanity. None of us is truly innocent. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23, NLT).
But here is a wonderful and uplifting reality: That verse falls in the very midst of God’s offer of redemption — a divine gift of salvation, a miraculous form of heavenly exoneration. Read Romans 3:23 again with the surrounding verses:
“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Romans 3:22-24).
As you read in the following pages the life-changing encounters with Jesus Christ that Gina Hanna, Jennifer Faye Smith, Clover Burt, and others have experienced, I hope you can rejoice in, or perhaps reconsider, the gift of God’s exoneration offered to you.
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