Grace and MercyAmy Sharp | December 4, 2018
I constantly get asked the question, “You are majoring in criminal justice? What do you want to do with that?” I always laugh because everybody’s first thought is policeman, or FBI. In fact, that was my first thought when I chose my major. What so many people do not understand is that there are so many more layers to the system than just what sits on the surface.
I have recently started volunteering once a week at a local facility that aids low income individuals and families in many different things such as bill repayment, furniture donations, bus passes, and connections to other resources. Within this organization is a program that focuses on incarcerated to released convicts. I have the pleasure of working directly in this program. Through this program I get to see firsthand individuals go from criminal lifestyles, to living a life of hard work that is full of joy, hope, and relief. I hear so many success stories where convicts who have been incarcerated multiple times walk out of prison for the very last time to find their calling and purpose in life after receiving encouragement, grace, and mercy.
Another aspect to hearing these stories is sometimes I get to see a starting point. A place in someone’s life where they felt as if they had no choice but to turn to crime. A mindset where they felt hopeless, pressured, or worthless. Often when a person begins to feel this way, they turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their negative feelings. They will resort to gangs to find a sense of belonging, or they will commit petty crimes to feel a rush of adrenaline. After realizing that there are starting points to all of these stories, I have realized there is a great need for grace and mercy in the world.
All of the people that walk into the office or are visited by us in the prisons walk away with a new outlook on life. Not because of anything we say, but because we showed them positivity that they had never received before. It is amazing what a little bit of encouragement and mercy will do for a person that feels as if they do not deserve it. Especially a person that has done terrible things, who will often resort back to their old lifestyle after being released from prison because they do not feel or see any hope for a brighter future because of their past.
As the year 2018 comes to a close, and the world reflects on how far society has come with acceptance and equality, I challenge everyone to show grace and mercy to someone that may not deserve it. To someone that may not have the best home life and just needs some encouragement. Show positivity to the child that may be a bully in school because that may be the difference between them growing up with a mentality of hatred, or joy. This is my passion. This is what comes through my head when I get asked that loaded question. It is my passion to bring a revolution to the world. That the justice system has the goal of preventing crime, rather than reacting to it. Every person plays a part in instilling a sense of purpose and positivity into another person, and that begins with grace and mercy.