Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 1998

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / February 4, 1998

Last Friday, I had to go to the Ascension Parish Courthouse to meet with aprobation officer about one of his clients. I was told that the probationofficer was busy with someone but would see me as soon as he finished.

I was alone in the waiting room for about two minutes, when a young manwalked in and sat a few seats from me. I told him “hello” and he asked meif I was on probation. I laughed and said, “No,” thinking he took me for anex-con.

“How about you?” I questioned. “Yeah,” he said. “Just got out of prison afew months ago after serving 5 1/2 years.” “What did you serve timefor?” I asked. Attempted manslaughter was his reply.

Being curious, I asked what he had done. “Shot two men in a drunken brawland almost killed them,” he answered. “Did you ever ask theirforgiveness?” I inquired. “No,” he replied. “I’ve never seen them since butI wish I could just tell them I’m sorry.””What did you do?” he asked. I told him about my ministry of Get High onLife, dealing with illegal drug users and alcoholics. He then said, “I abusedrugs pretty much, mostly marijuana and alcohol.”

“Are you married?” I asked. “No, but I have a girl-friend and an 8-month-old baby. I take care of them,” he continued.In the course of my conversation, I told him that I thought he really had asoft heart and was compassionate, but got into trouble when he tried toact tough. He smiled and said, “That can get people to take advanatge ofyou.”

“Are you a Christian?” I asked. “No, I don’t believe in anything,” heanswered. “If there is a God, He wouldn’t let people suffer so much. I’vebeen hurt all of my life,” he continued. “What hurt you the most?” I asked.”My mother leaving me at age 3, never to see her again. I was left with mygrandparents and they both died when I was young. That hurt, too,” he said.

“What about your dad?” I questioned. “Haven’t seen him in 12 years. Henever cared for me,” he said. “Do you love your dad?” I asked. “No,” heanswered, and added, “I have a lot of hate in me.” I told him I could detectthat.

I then told him that one day he would serve God in a mighty way. “You needto forgive your mom and dad and pray for them,” I suggested. “I believeyou love your dad and if he walked in here right now and asked yourforgiveness, you would cry like a baby,” I said. He just listened.

As our conversation came to a close, I told him taht I had four children -three girls and one boy. “I love you as much as I love my son,” I said. “Inthe natural world, that doesn’t make much sense, but in the spirit of God,it does,” I assured him.

As we parted, I hugged him and told him that I loved him and was going topray for God to heal every hurt in his life. He smiled as he seemed toaccept what I said.

When I walked away from the courthouse, I was on a natural high. I was inawe to see how God allows people to meet and was reminded that hepurposes everything in our lives.

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