When people don’t change, are our efforts in vain?
Five years ago, I worked as a defense attorney, advocating for children. One day I walked into the break room of the office I shared with a few other attorneys and found a new coworker eating lunch. Darryl (not his real name) wasn’t a typical legal assistant. He had recently been released from prison after serving an 18-year sentence for murdering his roommate. Darryl was 20 years old when he was sentenced to prison. I’m not sure why he committed this murder, but I know he was involved in a local gang. After Darryl was denied parole over and over again, his grandmother asked a coworker of mine to represent him in a hearing. My coworker agreed, and Darryl was released. Now, at age 39, he worked as an employee in our office—his first legal job.
Darryl wasn’t accustomed to having friends—not positive friends, anyway—so I often stopped by his office just to say hi. I sat and chatted with him at lunch, and I always offered my help if he had any questions. As time went by, I found opportunities to share more about my faith and ministry. He asked about my weekend and evening plans, so I talked about the local homeless shelter where I served and the Bible study I attended. I told him that I would travel to local jails and prisons telling women about a God who loved them.
One day he asked me, “Do you think God could love someone like me after all the horrible things I’ve done?” I told him yes and described to him the amazing, forgiving love of God. After a few weeks, Darryl came to my office with a new question: “How do people become Christians?” On this day, we forgot that I was an attorney. We forgot that we were at work. We were just two sinners in need of a Savior. …