Friday, February 27, 2009
The life story of Billy Moore is a powerful, modern-day testimony of redemption. God clearly used the horrible decisions of a young man to demonstrate how all things come together to glorify God:
“I was told by a guy I had met that he knew a man who kept $30,000 in his house. And he was old. We could rob him, and nobody would have to get hurt. But of course, when you’re using drugs and drinking alcohol, you think you have things under control, and you don’t. While we were in this man’s house, he shot at me with a shotgun. And being intoxicated and messed up as I was, this scared me and caused me to shoot him…They arrested me and the sheriff told me the night they arrested me that he was going to make sure I got a death sentence. I didn’t care--I wanted to die. That’s how bad I was feeling.
…I got a copy of my transcript and court records, and in those records were the addresses and names of some of the members of the victim’s family. When I saw that, I knew in my heart that I had to write to these people to apologize. I did, and they wrote me back and said they were Christian people and forgave me. It was like a breath of life. They were giving me a breath of life. Here are the people who should want me to die--who had every reason to want me to die--saying that they didn’t want me to die and that they forgave me. We continue to write, even to this present day, and talk on the phone. I even go visit them at times.
… They told the parole board, "Listen, we lost one family member, and Billy is like another member, and we don’t want to lose another member of our family. We do not want you to execute him."
Then there were probably five or six ministers that I knew from being in prison who testified. And a friend of mine who was a Jesuit priest had talked to Mother Theresa about me. The parole board heard about her wanting to talk to them, so they called her, and she told them that they should commute the case. And they did. On August 22, 1990, they said that my sentence was commuted from death to life, and I would have to do 25 years before becoming eligible for parole.
A year later, the parole board had to overturn that 25-year limit and paroled you. …
But the poverty, the racism, the lack of education--that has an effect on kids. It would be different if you gave them a chance and an opportunity to do better.
The New Abolitionist - June 2004, Issue 32
Billy Moore is now a Pentecostal minister, preaching along with his wife in Georgia. He is an outspoken opponent of the death penalty and speaks throughout the world about his experiences. If God can forgive and use a thief and murderer, surely He can forgive and use you.
Even with our sinful nature, God can and will use us. Moses had a hot temper. Rahab was a prostitute. Mary was a child. Timothy was shy and young. Paul tortured and killed early Christians. Throughout his writings he discusses his “thorn” and poor eyesight. David was an adulterer---yet, God forgave, used, and blessed them each. David prayed, “Turn me away from wanting any other plan than Yours.” Psalm 119:37 and declared, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32 If anyone knew about having a calling on your life even as a young child, it would be David. He knew that he wasn’t supposed to be a king in the same way King Saul had been—he even refused Saul’s armor, but stood before the giant Goliath with a sling shot. Later, he diverged from God’s plan by lusting after Bathsheba, placing her husband on the frontlines to be killed, and then, suffered the loss of their first child. David experienced what it was like to walk in God’s grace; and the sin and suffering of not following the heart of God. I firmly believe God created each of us with a specific purpose in mind, and then, He blesses us with talents to help us achieve His desire (Jeremiah 29:11). What complicates this is “free will!” We can easily diverge from the path God’s laid out for us. As David did, we often later come to realize that we are helpless without God. Amazing grace is that God uses all the negative decisions to enrich our understanding of His will and power. Remember that the word of God proclaims first seek Him, and then, you will reap blessings. David addresses his deeper understanding in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” God’s word is full of promise. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 His greatest desire is to bless you! From before you were born, God was making plans for you!