Aug. 2, 2022

The Lord Changes Monsters

The Lord Changes Monsters

I recount a small portion of the strangest man I’ve ever met. He said of himself, “I’m a monster.” His life was turbulent and violent. The Lord Jesus Christ pierced the dark demonic life that he lived. 


Pastor Whiteside here with another Brevis Talk. We formerly have done the Brevis Talk Podcast, 136 episodes, and they were brief. That's what Brevis means. This one will not be as brief. Let me speak a word of scripture. First Corinthians chapter 16, 11 says search for the Lord and for his strength seek his face always. 

Well. I've been asked to tell some of the prison stories over the years, 30 plus years of going into prisons anywhere from minimum security to maximum security and death row over six states. And most of the ministry efforts have been speaking. One-on-one less emphasis on preaching and these one-on-one visits have been as short as five minutes. And as long as eight hours in one day, yes, eight hours. 

And you can really get to know someone with the duration of some of these visits. I'm thinking today about the strangest man I ever met. I'll call him Troy. I will protect these inmates and the trust they've given in me and sharing their souls and their lives by using pseudonyms. And so we'll call him Troy. Troy was a death row inmate and I was with him when he was executed, knew him for a number of years Troy's life. 

Let me, let me give you a mental picture of Troy. Troy was shaped, I would say like an egg. He was a, a rounded person balding on top and slumping shoulders. And I would just say, and I think if you saw him, you'd say what the guy shaped like an egg. He had a little bit of a, an interesting peculiar gate because his feet were fused. His toes refused together. And one of the first things you would notice about his hands is many of the digits were fused together. 

Troy had a volatile upbringing. His father was a bully and he battered his family, severely beat his wife at the point that she had to be put in the hospital numerous times. And she finally got away from him or so she thought one evening she was washing the dishes and she was hit in the forehead by a bullet through the window, above the sink. She ended up having diminished mental capacity because of the brain injury that she had. 

No one was able to prove that the dad did it, but no one questioned or doubted that he was the perpetrator 

Troy's father had children with his wife's sister also. So Troy's cousin was his half sister. And as Troy grew up, he And that half sister had a relationship and produced a child. I told you it was strange. I told you it was messed up. Troy's dad had a body shop and Troy worked for him with a tow truck, picking up vehicles that had been wrecked and were not able to drive. 

And then one day Troy came in and announced that he would be in charge of the business, that his dad's lifelong dream was to buy an 18 Wheeler and see the United States. And so Troy began to operate the body shop. Well, things went along just like that. Troy kept his dad's yard mode. He kept the utilities paid for his dad's home, his mobile home in a mobile home park. 

Troy began a relationship with a woman who had two children. And Troy tell you a little bit about the background of the prison. He had a volatile, volatile temper, and many of the inmates were fearful of him simply because they said you can't reason with Troy and you never know what's going to set him off. Well, his life began to unravel after his wife did not show up at her work. 

And so someone did a, a check on her, found her and her children deceased. And then Troy was brought in and he began to tell the whole story. His father was found in his mobile home. Troy had kept the utilities paid for over two years. His father was deceased, laying in his recliner with fans box fans, encircling him. 

The condition of his body was like something that was dehydrated. If you'd put either some meat or some fruit in a dehydrator. And he was in a fixed position in the recliner, they went through the salvage yard next to the body shop. They found the half sister in an ice cooler and the ice cooler was in the trunk of a car. I told you, this was a strange story. 

I met Troy when he was on death row. The first thing he told me, he says, do You know anything about me? I said, I do not. He said, well, 

I'm a monster. When you hear my story, you won't want to be around me. I said, okay. And so I sat down and talked with Troy and listened to him in a disjointed story where he told about half his crime, half of his life, half of his dislikes and some of the inmates that he didn't care for. And so on. And so on. I said, Troy, I'll be back in a month. 

Would you like to visit with me? He said, yes. I think I would. He said, I'm lonely. And I would like to visit with you. And so thus began a relationship where once a month I would spend several hours speaking with Troy. Troy was a peculiar individual in his thinking process, in his behavior. And in every way he was the strangest person. I think I began to share the gospel with Troy. 

He did not listen. And one day after he, and he was very respectful, is he listened, but he tuned out. When I say he didn't listen. He, he didn't listen attentively. He raised his hand. He said, listen, I owe you something. I don't need to waste your time. I'm not interested. As a matter of fact, there's no hope for me. And I said, oh, tell me about this. No hope. He said, I've done too much bad. I'm too evil. And I said, well, I disagree with you. 

The God I serve is a mountain moving God. The only sin that he will not forgive is the bla. Me of the holy spirit is recorded in the gospel of Matthew. And so I believe that my God can save and cleanse and change anyone. Troy. And we left it at that. We communicated, we talked about similar likes. We talked about fishing. We talked about just everything under the sun and little by little was able to share some of the gospel and drop a nugget in here, drop a seed in here. 

And many, many months, perhaps even a year later, he asked for a Bible and I was happy to ship a Bible in and got him a Bible. He began to read. He was very intelligent and he would come once a month. And that I made the trip. He would come out with a series of questions and to the best of my ability, I would answer those questions. And little by little God began to move. God began to speak to Troy's heart. 

One day he asked, do you really, really believe that God will forgive me and can forgive me? I said, absolutely. Troy, if I didn't believe that I wouldn't be here. 

 He says, I'm just having a hard time with that. And I, I said, I, I understand that, understand that somewhat. And I prayed for him. I had others pray for him. And the gospel is he read the Bible, the power of the word of God, penetrated the darkness of his heart. Troy came to faith in Christ. One of the things that I noticed immediately was that hair trigger anger was gone. God took that anger away. Others around him began to see, this is not an angry man anymore. What has happened? Some said medication, some said breathing, relaxation exercises. And Troy told him the gospel. Troy was given an execution date. He asked, would you be with me when I'm executed? I said, Troy, if that's what you desire, I'll be with you. 

I spent the last few days with him all day and no family to come visit with him. And Troy was executed a few years ago. His last words were, Jesus is Lord. Jesus has saved my soul. Thank God for Jesus folks. We never know. We never know someone's upbringing. We just never want, know why they are peculiar, why they are different in this life. 

But the gospel is for everyone. Jesus died for everyone. Well, who knows? Maybe we're all just a little bit peculiar by someone else's standards, but Troy does remain the strangest man I ever knew. And this strange man who had horrible, horrible sins and horrible deeds at his hands will be in heaven or is in heaven. 

And I'll see him in heaven. Not because of any human goodness, not because of turning over a new leaf, not because of trying, but because of trust in the forgiveness and the power of Jesus Christ. God bless you. I hope you have a good day and we'll see you soon.