chain breaking into the sun with birds flying away

Dec. 20 | Ernie Garcia | Today's Readings

"Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved." (Psalm 80)

The concept of transformation through healing is a beautiful thing; yet from a biblical standpoint, what does it mean? 

Transformation in the Bible is spoken of often, but the chapter and verse that come to my mind is found in Romans.  

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to attest and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

I can attest that my life was transformed through Christ. 

The majority of my life has been spent in prison — 29 years with 18 years in solitary confinement. 

Through Christ I was forgiven, but I also learned to forgive others. 

I was transformed by the “renewal of [my] mind,” and when that happened, compassion and forgiveness emerged for all those who had harmed me in some shape or form.      

As an offender, I would share with you the impact that love, compassion, respect, and honesty can have on the incarcerated — men and women who have lost hope, who no longer remember a time when they were valued, let alone when they valued themselves. 

I lost myself when I was incarcerated; I could not face the hurt and pain that I had caused others, and all the physical pain that I endured there. I felt that I deserved it. 

It wasn’t until I started reading my Bible, going to church in prison, and talking to volunteers who treated me with humanity and compassion that I realized that there was something major missing in my life: God and his perfect will.    

Transformation through Christ brings healing because I came to understand that, even with all my flaws and all my ingratitude, God still loves me. Not my sins, but me. 

With that understanding came the responsibility and obligation of sharing God’s perfect will. 

In the United States, we have 25% of the world’s total prison population, and over 3,000 death row inmates. 

If we do not do everything possible to abolish the death penalty, then do we really believe in transformation and healing through Christ? 

I believe that all people can be transformed and healed. 

I also believe that if we all worked together, we could not only abolish the death penalty, but could transform and heal thousands of lost souls who just need to understand that there is hope and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.