Anyone who comes into contact with Jesus Christ will never be the same, even if you’re the Orange Demon, the Demon’s sidekick, or the White Weasel.
Now, I know we’re supposed to save the ending until the end, but I thought this was so important I would begin at the end. Please bear with me. I’ve never written a training manual for prison ministry volunteers.
Let me repeat. Anyone who comes into contact with Jesus Christ will never be the same. No matter how great of a sinner you are.
The last time I saw the Orange Demon in the small chapel near one of the guard towers, his massive body was heaving from tears having learned Mother had died. The chaplain, who was at least a foot shorter and 100 pounds lighter, had his arm wrapped around the African-American’s shoulders and was quietly telling him the Holy Spirit would comfort him during this tragic time.
For three years, the chaplain had witnessed to the Orange Demon about God’s son, Jesus Christ. The only place one ever found the Orange Demon and his posse was in the outdoor exercise arena. Faithfully, the chaplain spoke to the Orange Demon, and the daily response would be the same growl, “No preaching around me, Chap.”
Today, however, the chaplain had delivered news that the Orange Demon’s mother had died. Furthermore, due to security concerns, the warden had decided the Orange Demon would not be allowed to attend the funeral. No matter how many chains were locked around his athletic body or how many sharpshooters were deployed, the warden would not risk the possibility of the Orange Demon escaping.
“Mother, why have you left me alone? Why Mother? I’m sorry,” cried the Orange Demon. At this moment, maybe for the first time in his life, the Orange Demon’s heart softened to the Word of God.
“It’s okay to cry,” the chaplain said.
The Orange Demon realized his sidekicks were in disbelief, watching him wail. Demon No. 2, who was also black, was dressed in torn jeans and an orange tee just like the Orange Demon. The White Weasel, a shrimp compared to the other two men, wore a silk orange blouse and designer jeans. He constantly pretended to wipe tears with his long fingers with orange polished nails.
“You ever tell anybody I cried, I’ll kill both of you,” the Orange Demon barked at the other inmates.
The three silently left the chapel.
Two years passed before I again ran across John Arthur Orange, previously known as the Orange Demon. I heard him speaking to a Sunday School class of inmates.
“Mother tried to tell me about Jesus when I was small. She always insisted I attend church every Sunday. In my teens, I decided I knew more than Mother. Got into drugs and so much trouble I landed behind bars,” the new convert to Christ quietly pointed out. “The chaplain was never afraid of me, kept talking about Jesus. When Mother died, all those Bible verses and stuff came back to me. You can’t have an encounter with Jesus without your life changing.”
I smiled and thanked God. The Orange Demon had become a sinner saved by grace. I also noticed the black man’s new orange tee, this one with an imprinted message.
“I’m Orange. So Is Jesus. Got A Problem With That?”
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