Gerald T. Hollingsworth
When I hear of other registrant’s challenges my heart tears just a little more. Some of us did some terrible and terribly stupid things in the past. We do not shirk from our responsibility and are willing to make amends and attempt to restore whatever confidence was broken. Yes, there are some actions with irreversible consequences and it is those types of cases where a registry makes sense but only to a limited audience — Law Enforcement. The public registry cost me one job and then another. Fortunately, I am a veteran and have been classified as permanently disabled by the VA so I am able to make ends meet, barely. A few months ago I was diagnosed with a cancer that will take my life within the next 6-10 months. I’ve already outlived expectations but that is because He who is in me is greater than the disease that is trying to kill me. My point in mentioning this is that it is that same power that was allowing me to press forward in seeking employment or some other way to pay my way. Dedicating myself to serving God has been the key for me and I wouldn’t be able to stand were it not for His grace.
What this all means is that I would be willing to stand before others and show them that we are not terminal offenders, not most of us anyway. More, when it comes to repentance and forgiveness that goes to and comes from God. The change we must demonstrate is one of faith and that is tough when it seems like God himself must be against us; we must get over that and get out of His way so HE can heal us. If victims choose to remain such remember that there is nothing we can do about that. We become willing to make what amends we can and seek His forgiveness then accept what has already been given and move forward. You’d be surprised by how effective He is at supporting that. Daniel, don’t give up hope — but then it is clear that you haven’t — may God continue to bless you. Our actions from the day we set foot out of incarceration will define who we are. We do not need society’s permission or validation, we do need God’s sustaining love else there is no hope and no peace.