After all this time I still think it belongs to me.

I went with Jerry to see his probation officer.  While we were there she explained his situation more clearly.  Jerry is on the sex offender list from a crime he committed in 1989.   Almost every thing that he has gotten in trouble for over the past 20 years has been related to that.  I learned yesterday from his probation officer that he has spent almost 3 years in prison since then for violating laws associated with the Sex Offender Registry (SOR).

In 2006 he went to jail for getting behind on his fees.  When he went to jail, his status with the SOR changed to “inactive”.  When he was let out 3 weeks later, no one told him that he needed to re-regisiter to change the status back to “active.”  So..48 hours later, another warrant was issued for his arrest.  He was sentenced to 2 years in prison for not re-registering and changing his status.

Every year he has to pay $150 registration fee.  Last year he was paying his fees every month to his probation officer.  She told him that his $150 fee will come out of those payments first.

We made is PO check the computer to see if it needed to still be paid.  She clearly did not want to bother with it.  “I’m sure it’s paid”, she said.

She came back to tell us that the SOR did not have it marked as paid.  What no one told him (I don’t even think they knew) is that unless he pays $150 in one lump payment, it does not get sent over to the SOR.  So there is $150 sitting in an account earmarked for his fee, but the SOR till showed that he did not pay it.

Here is the kicker…since this is his third SOR offense he would get a minimum of 6 years.  That’s right 6 years.

We told her that we would get it paid as soon as possible.

I told Jerry on the way home that I couldn’t afford to give him the money right now, but I could possibly find some work for him.  I talked to a friend who graciously gave him a few hours work.  He came back but had only earned about $40.  He asked me if he could borrow the rest.  I told him that I would try to get him more work.

Today I was reading Ed Dobson’s book The Year of Living Like Jesus.  He talked about how he had come across a man who was homeless and had asked him for money.  He remembered how Jesus says to give to the one who asks.  He turned around and gave the man money simply because he asked for it.

He says, “It’s as simple as that – give to the one who asks.  He asked.  I had an obligation to give…I knew he’d probably use it to buy more alcohol and that I probably hadn’t made the wisest choice.  And I also know that a dollar wasn’t really going to help him.  But I had no other choice.  He asked and I was obligated.”

I gave Jerry the money and he paid his fee.  I did not want to give to Jerry.  I was thinking of moving and jobs and houses.  But that is because I think my money belongs to me.  How is $150 worth 6 years of a man’s life?  What is wrong with me?  I gave because he asked, although clearly my heart was not in a giving spirit.

I want God to change this crippling idea in me that I somehow own what God has entrusted to me.  I have been given to give, changed to bring change, blessed to be a blessing.

I love the lyrics by Aaron Niequist:

We have been saved – We’re gonna shout about the savior

We have been found – We’re gonna turn over every stone

We’ve been empowered – To love the world to Heaven

We have been changed – To bring change, to bring change