“For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy:
mercy triumphs over judgment.” James, 2.13
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy”. Matthew, 5.7
Are we all condemned by our worst day? Are we all doomed by our worst act? Are we all defined, forevermore, by our worst behavior? How many of us would wish to stand before our friends, our family at Thanksgiving dinner, or naked before our Church and our God to make such confession without the deepest shame and mortification? While almost none who will read this have murdered, all of us have sinned, caused hurt, and been less than what we wish to be.
We have already spoken of Forgiveness, but what of Redemption? Can we overcome the worst in us, and make ourselves into something better? Is the human struggle on this Earth doomed to failure by our weaknesses, or can we rise above, to make something more beautiful?
Don Johnson, perhaps, provides an answer to these questions. As we know his Faith came forth from darkness. By his actions, and his deeds, he put himself on death row. He was the lowest of the low, with an empty heart, and a selfish soul. Today, he spreads the Good News of his Savior, Jesus Christ. He is a giver of comfort, an Elder in his Church, a settler of disputes, and a friend to all. He is not the man who was once sentenced to death—he has been reborn.
Don Johnson’s rebirth, his redemption, is the product of his faith, his surrender, and of Cynthia’s forgiveness.
Many of us have had our faith deepened by participating in Don’s ministry. Many inmates have learned from Don. Guards have been touched. Death Row, of all places, is made better by his presence. The message which Don feels compelled to share has reached friends across the Atlantic Ocean, in England, in Holland, and in France. His ministry, every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on WNAH-1360 AM, has touched thousands. Don has earned his position as an Elder in the Seventh Day Adventist Church through commitment, dedication, effort and his deep faith. He works hard to make our world a little better.
Don Johnson’s long journey from the deepest darkness into the light—from avarice, selfishness and deceit to becoming a minister of the Good News—proves that any and all of us may be redeemed. We all have the same great potential for positive change.
Don’s hopeful message should be proclaimed to a weary world. The light of Christ must shine forth, through Don’s life and through ours.