A man in Ohio spent 40 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He was accused of murder and sentenced to death. That sentence was vacated nearly 40 years later when a key witness recanted his testimony, paving the way for him to be set free. He had spent 14,177 days in prison for a crime he did not commit. Yet he gratefully said at his release, “A lot of people think I should be mad, but I am not.” There was joy of another sort years ago when Philip arrived in Samaria with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We read this in Acts chapter 8: “Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.” People are filled with joy when they find release from their heavy burdens, whether the burden springs from exoneration after a false arrest and imprisonment, or whether it is the joy that fills one’s heart when their faith in Christ results in their sins being forgiven.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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