"You took 11 years from my life, but I've got my life back!
I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all that happened, but you're going to face hell for eternity!
From this moment on, I am not going to let you define me or affect who I am. I will live on but you will die a little more inside each day as you think of those 11 years and the atrocities you inflicted on us.
I can forgive you but I'll never forget. With God's guidance, I'll prevail and help other victims who may have suffered at the hands of another."
These are the words of Michelle Knight, one of the girls held for over 11 years in a house in Cleveland, Ohio. They were addressed to her tormentor, Ariel Castro, during his sentencing hearing.
If anyone knows what it was like to be in a living hell, surely it must be Michelle and her other co-detainees, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. I know this was an isolated and unusual occurrence for a so-called "developed country" but my mind also turned to the countless thousands of girls trapped in prostitution and modern day slavery all across the world.
At least Michelle and her co-detainees were able to escape that hell and I hope and pray that they are on the road to recovery from the horrendous mental scars of Castro's repeated torture.
There are some who would tell you that the human race is evolving and that we are improving all the time. This I don't believe for a second. Even if I wasn't a Christian I still wouldn't believe it.
Horrors are happening all over the world, even as you read this Thought.
As it tells us in the Bible…
"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9)
All of us have the capability to do some horrible things. But as a Christian, I can tell you that there is a solution to all evil and sin, both in our world and in our hearts.
I know a Man who endured 'hell' for us. Jesus Christ not only underwent the dreadfully painful death of crucifixion, but He suffered even more in taking the sin of the world on Himself and thereby separation from His Father…
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" (Matt. 27:46)
This IS a cruel world. We may not see much of this cruelty but it IS there. However, remember that Jesus suffered a cruel death to provide a way out of all this malaise.
Michelle was correct in mentioning the reality of an eternal hell. Hell is as real as Heaven is. And Heaven wouldn't be Heaven if all manner of evil was also allowed to dwell there!
As God is a righteous Judge, someday we will all be judged for what we have done in this life…
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment (Heb. 9:27)
But remember, we have an Advocate now! If we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our own personal Saviour, then He will speak up on our behalf. Jesus took the sin (past, present and future) on Himself so that we will not be held accountable for committed sin whenever we meet our Maker.
And if you're not sure that Jesus will speak up for you on that day, then please follow the link at the bottom of this page.
I'll end with the report of that particular day when, after 11 years in captivity, salvation came to Michelle and that house in Cleveland…
On 6 May this year, Ms Berry broke down part of the front door of Castro's house and cried for help, attracting the attention of several neighbours. Barbara Johnson, the Cleveland police officer who reached the scene first, found Ms Knight and Ms DeJesus upstairs after hearing footsteps. Ms Knight "literally launched herself" into a fellow officer's arms, Johnson told the court. "She just kept repeating, 'You saved us! You saved us!'
Behold, now is "the acceptable time," behold, now is "the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2)
For "whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom. 10:13)
Until next month then (DV)…
(All Bible quotations are from the NASB)
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!