TOMÁŠ | Czech Republic
Testimony of a New Friendship
I would like to share with you a real-life story about two friends and the testimony they shared in the chapel of Rýnovice prison. Before I start telling this true story, I have to go back in time to introduce to you the two protagonists and shed some light on their previous lives. The story starts with gossip, hatred, pain and fear, but ends with reconciliation, understanding, cooperation, forgiveness and hope.
Addicted and Harmful
There were once two young men who lived in the same town. They knew about each other but hadn’t met yet. What they had in common was that they were both drug addicts. At some point, they finally met and became friends, although I am not sure you can call a relationship between two addicts a friendship. Anyway, they started spending more time together, selling drugs together and supporting one another.
But, as expected, the drugs eventually took their toll and started tearing them apart, destroying the core of their being. Their characters changed and so did their priorities. They started badmouthing, stealing from and generally hurting each other. I cannot say which of the individuals was worse. They both share the blame for what happened between them. They started hating each other to such an extent that it could not end well. Eventually, revenge and retaliation followed. It went so far that one of them contributed to the other ending up in prison. And even then, they hadn’t stopped. The one who was not in prison continued to do bad things to the other one until he too ended up in prison!
Even though they landed up in different prisons, the hatred didn’t stop. They both spent their evenings thinking about how they would get back at each other when they got out.
Back then, they had no idea that their paths would cross sooner than they imagined. They would end up standing side by side, face to face in the same prison. What none of them could imagine actually happened. And so, they crossed paths once more, and it happened in the strangest place one could ever imagine. That place was the chapel of Rýnovice prison, and they met because they both, independent of each other, decided to enroll in the program called The Prisoner’s Journey®.
I think that on the day they met again, they both had very mixed feelings about what was going to happen and doubts about where it was going to lead. But God wanted their paths to cross again, and they even ended up sitting next to each other in the chapel. As they sat there, they started sharing their lives again, explaining each other’s point of view, and most of all, apologizing to each other.
The idea of forgiveness started taking shape.
Finding Reconciliation and Forgiveness
With each subsequent meeting, their relationship flourished. They started cooperating and reading the Gospel of Mark together. They watched videos of bad deeds that ended in compassion and hope. They even drew the scene of the Last Supper, which is all about betrayal but also forgiveness. Instead of war, peace entered their lives. Out of hatred came a new, true and pure friendship—a friendship without drugs. They promised each other they would no longer pursue revenge once they were released. In fact, they were quite sad that the program was ending.
Not only did they find out about the Lord Jesus and the reasons why He came to the world, but they also resolved a long-standing conflict between them, forgave each other and became friends again.
Everything written above is true because I was one of the two friends!