A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith


The convicted felon

posted by Linda G. Howard

Years ago, a small, struggling church in Florida learned–to their chagrin–that they had hired a convicted felon as their secretary. She would soon be thrown into jail for embezzling as much as $150,000 from her former employer who was a federal judge.

The pastor was new to the church and young. He met with his board of elders and a plan was drawn up.  As a church, it appeared they had no choice. They had to fire her. No apology. No explanation. After all, they were a church.

Yet, God had a different plan and He interceded. The board decided to not fire the unrepentant felon. After announcing her situation on Sunday morning, the congregation agreed to take her in and love her. They arranged her work program. Traveling 75 miles each day for weeks to pick her up from jail and carry her back to jail, they gave her chance after chance.

Careful not to allow her to handle money, they went the second, third and fourth mile with her. After several years, the secretary left her position for a more lucrative spot.  Within a year, she was arrested for embezzling from her new employer.

A waste of time and energy? Never.  In the interim, a practical plan for redemption in action was worked into the hearts of the people in the congregation and the community responded.

The tone, attitude and atmosphere of this small church has been set. They are known as a congregation which cooperates with God in bringing redemption into broken lives.

As the church, we daily face many choices.  However, one choice may be essential.  While judgment and justice begin at the house of God, God’s mercy always overrides his justice. As we approach the tenth anniversary of September 11, we stand, as a people, at a crossroads. Once justice has been served, the natural inclination is to push the offender against the wall and demand another pound of flesh. Will we, however, become a community desiring redemption.

There is a lost, dying and hurting world outside the doorsteps of our sacred homes and churches.  What will they find should they stagger through our doorways?



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Halaluani

    I love this. So few people/churches/spiritual groups put words into action. Doing this demonstrates for people how to live a life with one’s spirituality at the foundation as a part of every word and action. This kind of honest sincerity appeals to young people who have no tolerance (as it should be) for manipulation, superficiality, and disingenuity.

    Kudos to these people in this church. I hope they continue to conduct their lives this way while reaching out as a role model for others.

    • http://specialgathering.wordpress.com Linda G. Howard

      Thanks, Halaluani, for your comment. This is the way we all strive to live out our Christian principles. Your commented added a lot.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Melvenia

    Sometimes in the demand of another pound of flesh we hind instead of help. As God’s children we forget his lesson the prodigal son or daughter. Wastful in their life path we may not be able to steer them total back but we can show them we are here,and sometimes with some that is all that is needed is another chance to go and do the right thing. As a mother I have three son’s and they have made wrong choice in life. I understand this all to well I have one that has return to school another who wants a job so bad he can taste it but no one will open a door he is upfront about going to jail and states he does not want to work with money. Still he is not been given a chance what this church did by the will of God and is still doing is awesone and let’s me know that God is real and I give my life to him.

    • http://specialgathering.wordpress.com Linda G. Howard

      Melvenia, you have just made my day. I pray that you will continue to seek the Lord. I know that this new commitment to him will bring new joy to you. I will be praying for you.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jonathan N Gardiner

    This is real love and compassion on the the church behalf;and totally ungratefulness on the behalf of this unrepentant lady.

    I trust and pray that she has turn from this evil way.

    Good work church and continue in them.

    • http://specialgathering.wordpress.com Linda G. Howard

      Thanks, Jonathan. I was always proud to be a part of the staff of this church.

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