Pain rips families apart. After my husband and I received the news of our son’s arrest and the reason for his arrest, we were devastated.
For one, we could never imagine our son, Stephen, participating in such a horrific tragedy. But the fact was he was arrested and charged with a crime that left serious heartache in families. At the time, not all the facts of the circumstances were known.
My husband and I decided at the very early stages of this unexpected journey to make some firm commitments.
The first commitment we made was to stand by one another no matter what happened with our son. We needed to lean on one another—for strength and encouragement. Yes there were times we were both down, but we were there to comfort one another.
Our second commitment was to love Stephen—unconditionally. We stood on God’s promises that there is nothing in this world that can separate anyone from God’s love.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35 NKJV)
No matter how evil, God’s love is greater still.
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’” (1 Peter 4:8 NKJV)
It was Christ “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14 NKJV)
There is no sin that is too great for God to forgive!
Though Stephen was held in county jail until his trial, we showed Stephen our unconditional love. I wrote letters five days a week filled with how words about how much I loved him and how precious his life is to me. I copy/pasted memes into a Word document, printed and mailed to him to keep him encouraged. I mailed him a Bible. Then Bible studies and books. We kept money on the phone account so he could call and hear our voice. We visited him when we could. We hired an attorney to represent him. We did everything we could within our means to show Stephen our love.
Later Stephen shared with us that because we showed him unconditional love, he confessed his sins to God. First John 1:9 reads, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Stephen surrendered his life to Christ and was cleansed of all unrighteousness through the blood of Jesus.
Almost six years later, even after a conviction and sentencing, Stephen lives his life in prison for the Lord.
Having an incarcerated son was not my dream. However, I did dream and desire that my son love the Lord with all his heart, all his soul, and all his mind. That’s what Christian parents want for their children.
Every life has value. God places people in our lives—sons, daughters, spouses, parents—for us to love them unconditionally as HE loves unconditionally. God does not give up on us.
And He doesn’t want us to give up on our family members—ever!