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From Prison To Freedom

Author: Sean Booth

Picture: Montclair.edu

From Prison To Freedom

Sitting in a prison cell, trapped and lonely, Sean Booth felt desperate. What happened next changed his life forever.

I had a troubled childhood. By the age of 13, I was drinking on the streets and had lost my virginity. After leaving school early, I drank in pubs, and took drugs like crack cocaine and ecstasy with friends. I was also an amateur boxer and had trials with Manchester City.
 
Sat in a pub one day, I looked into an empty pint glass and thought: there must be more to life than this.
I was dissatisfied, but did not know where to turn. I carried on drinking, and got involved in fighting, stealing and cheating.
 
This all came to a head in 2012 when my best friend shot dead four people, which led to an investigation. I was accused of this crime, a crime I did not commit.
 
I was taken to court and sentenced to prison in Strangeways, Manchester. 
 

"I Can't Be Forgiven!"

 
Prison was somewhere I never imagined I would be. One day, I went to get some food. I climbed three flights of stairs and was finished.
 
I was exhausted and drained, mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Returning to my cell, the guard slammed the door shut. I was desperate.
 
Falling to my knees, everything the world told me I needed to make me happy flashed into my mind -family, friends, holidays, music festivals, job, money. Then other things flashed into my mind-all my sins: fighting, cheating, stealing, taking drugs, dishonouring my mother and father.
 
This played out like a movie in my mind. It dawned on me that I had broken every single commandment, including murder, since I had taken part in an abortion.
 
In this moment, I did not believe I could be forgiven. “ I can’t be forgiven!”, I cried out.
 

A Blinding Light

 
A blinding light suddenly appeared. I saw Jesus Christ on the cross, with the crown of thorns on his head. The sky was lit behind him with magnificent colours.  Jesus turned to me, broken and bruised, pain going through every part of his body.
 
The love I saw in those eyes touched me straight to my heart. Jesus spoke the words from Luke 23:34 to me: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 
 
A rush came from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. In every part of me, I experienced mercy and forgiveness.
 
If I was the only person in the world who ever lived, he still would have done it for me. At that moment, I knew Jesus died for my sins. I was forgiven, and knew that he was my Lord and King.
 

I Finally Felt Free

 
At that moment, my life finally made sense. I finally felt free, as Paul says in Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.” This is exactly what I experienced in my prison cell, and for the first time I saw the power and wonder of the cross and resurrection.
 
I don’t know how long I stayed on my knees. I again became aware of the presence of Jesus in my cell, but this time, he was not on the cross. He was risen and was with me, sitting on the chair next to where I was sat, dressed in dazzling white. He said to me: “I’m here. I’m with you. I have always been with you and will be with you always.” It does not get any better than this.
 
This is my Easter testimony. Jesus can find us anywhere- at home, at work, in the sports centre or at a concert. He found me in a prison cell and forgave me. I’m so happy to call him my Lord, Saviour and friend.
 
Happy Easter!

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