Radical Repentance – Free Behind Bars
Key Bible Verse: Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. – Ephesians 2:1
Bonus Reading: Ephesians 2:2-10
David Berkowitz was sentenced to consecutive life sentences for killing six people and wounding numerous others in New York City. Known as “Son of Sam,” he terrorized the city for months until his capture in 1977.
Berkowitz confessed to the crimes to avoid the death penalty. Though up for parole several times, he has consistently been denied freedom.
For many, this seems a fitting end to a madman’s life—dying a slow death in jail haunted by his past crimes.
But that’s not the end.
In 1987, an inmate talked to Berkowitz about Christ. He gave Berkowitz a Bible.
According to Berkowitz, the book changed his life: “Everything seemed to hit me at once. The guilt from what I did … the disgust at what I had become. … I got down on my knees and began to cry out. … I asked Jesus to forgive me. … A peace flooded over me. … I knew that my life, somehow, was going to be different.”
Berkowitz now has CDs and videos of his conversion available through Focus on the Family. He has appeared on Dr. D. James Kennedy’s TV show, and he has endorsements from Chuck Colson.
—Mark Herringshow & Jennifer Schuchmann in Six Prayers God Always Answers
My Response: Why might I find it hard to accept that someone like David Berkowitz could be a genuine Christian?
Thought to Apply: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.—John Newton (British clergyman and former slave-ship captain)
Adapted from Prayer Power (Tyndale, 2008)