The Jericho Road
by Michael Sharp
The Jericho Road, a road belonging to the living, but its end is Death. I traveled the long and winding Jericho Road for over fifteen years while residing on Texas Death Row. As time crawled slowly by, my mind and body grew tired and worn like the edges of a book read many times over, yet my soul and spirit soared like eagles wings, being renewed daily in the Lord God's strength, never becoming weary even when I saw the end of the road approaching. Death could not threaten me, death had become a point in time, a magical moment in which a joyous and wonderful adventure would begin. When Death confronted me as he prepared his final blow, I trusted in the Lord and was not afraid. The Lord raised me from a dark place of torment and despair and gave me life everlasting. By Death and his collaborators destroying my physical life, I lost what was keeping me from enjoying the presence of my Savior in heaven. How ironic, to punish me for my crimes with physical death, to steal away my robe of flesh that housed the essence of my being, only to send me flying away to the presence of Jesus. The Jericho Road led my flesh to a dark dead end, but my words herein will not be silenced by darkness or death. My pen is the extension of my tongue that once was, and it gives evidence of what is in my heart. Hear my dying words as I breathed them out from the uprightness of my heart. Know that my lips speak with a sincere learned knowledge, and my only desire is to bring glory to God, and truth and love to all who will open your ears and hearts.
Everyone is fearful of what is wrong with society. Crime and murder top the list. Your fear makes you narrow-minded and blind, and you feel driven to advocate practices to halt these societal wrongs, yet your proposed methods are often more evil than the crimes and murders you seek to punish. Again and again crime, murder, and evil are committed in the process of punishing those of us who are officially and often illegally found guilty. Society and the law doesn't care if those they consider unworthy are abused, tortured, and oppressed. No one cares that we are not treated with basic human decency, or rehabilitated to become productive members of society, you just want us out of the way. Individually and as a nation everyone is increasingly denying all responsibility for their ill-treatment and actions toward one another. You organize and vocally separate and divide yourselves into groups that specialize in tearing one another down. Capital punishment is one of those issues that divides everyone and keeps you at each other's throats. Nothing is more viciously debated than the death penalty, except abortion, which is yet another evil issue of life and death.
Speaking out and voicing your opinions is a useful tool as long as everyone is being productive and striving towards goals of reconciliation and building one another up, but you have closed your unfeeling hearts, and with your mouth you speak proudly with no regard for anyone but yourself. You are treacherous and deceitful. You are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside look beautiful but on the inside are full of death and decay. If you would only be silent, that would be your wisdom, but you cry justice and align yourself with the adversary, the devil, who prowls about like a roaring lion seeking out those whom he may devour, and to kill, and to destroy. Evil has many faces. The criminals and murderers commit acts of evil against society, the law enforcement agencies, judicial system, and prison systems are corrupt and commit crimes (evil) against the criminals, you (society), are destructive by supporting godless morals and ethics , always trading evil for evil from every side. There is no peace for the wicked. You selfishly tear down and never build up. You are robbed of sleep unless you make someone stumble. You eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. Your wicked way is like darkness and you do not know over what obstacle you stumble. Your hearts devise wicked plans, your mouths utter lies, you spread strife among yourselves.
I WAS a reflection of you, a reflection of society. Go look in the mirror and you will see my face as it once was. You have placed YOURSELF on the injecting table. I lay on the gurney heavily bound with straps as I await Death to pass over me. No eye has pity on me, I am despised and forsaken of men. Love, compassion, and mercy has disappeared from your hearts. Evil forces have congregated within you and your power is strong. You clothe yourselves in shame, and your throats become an open grave as the warden prepares his instruments of poisonous death. I won't be able to hear your murderous choruses of kill him, kill him, kill him; but I know you are there. Your chanting will sound like thunder in the heavens when my blood smears and clings to your hands and souls as Death claims my lifeless body. Yes, I was once a reflection of you, blind, wicked, and a taker of life.
Who could do this to another? Who would mock a dying man as his life slowly fades away in the presence of his mother whose heart is a fountain of tears? Would this be the same people who mocked Jesus in front of His mother as they crucified Him? Would these be the people who hate the prisoners and love death? Is this you? Yes, this is you. It's you even if you are not cheering outside my death's door. It is you UNTIL you make a stand against death and the evil we do to one another. Men in prison groan, their souls are wounded and they cry out, you pay no attention other than to rush them to their grave. You have failed to understand the problems of the mentally ill, the spiritually disturbed, the retarded, and those who just simply lost their way.
The moral ideas of law and order have been separated from the spirit of its original revelation. You misapply these principles while forgetting the core components of compassion and mercy, and then you self-righteously try to justify your sinful attitudes and actions. Do not delude yourself or allow yourself to be deluded, God sits in the heavens and laughs at your wicked plots as He sees your day coming. You need to think about what you are doing or be afraid of the sword of God for yourself. What you think is right and legal in this world isn't always righteous and holy before God.
Don't you know that as a society and a nation, you increase your own suffering when you ignore and then kill your neighbor, especially the neighbor who needed your love, compassion, and mercy the most? A vast majority of the world's people are spiritually disturbed, having a broken or no relationship with God, which opens the door for Satan to build his stronghold in their hearts, pushing them to commit violent, brutal and heinous acts of evil and murder. Will you condemn a man when he can be saved? God is greater than man and can restore righteousness in a man where men fail. Will you deprive God of what is His by destroying men? You destroyed me. You are not right in this. The Spirit of God made me, the breath of the Almighty gave me life. Just like you, I belonged to God. Fortunately for me, God humbled me and brought me to Himself before you could exterminate me, but I ask myself, what of the others awaiting execution?
Many of the human beings now awaiting extermination by execution have learned compassion and mercy through grief and hardships. If only you on the outside could learn this same lesson the easy way just by focusing on God. But no, you are too busy judging and condemning people to death. Just in case, the lesson is, "Love your neighbor as yourself". Jesus is within those you ignore and condemn, Jesus died for us all while we were yet still sinners. Only by loving does love radiate and duplicate itself and become self-evident. Failure to do as one should toward one's fellow man is one of the gravest of sins.
Many of you who read this will be asking yourself and others, "who is this guy to talk to us like this?" The answer is, I'm one of you, a sinner before God. It takes one to know one. One sin, small or great makes you a sinner and brings you under condemnation from God. Sacrificing me, saying I was the worst of the worst, attempting to make yourselves look righteous before man and God will not work. You may fool some people, you may fool all the people, but you will not fool God.
I became a new creature in Christ and turned away from my sins and now I have tasted the sweet going away. You remain behind, countless opportunities lay before you, what are you going to do with your opportunities? Following is my prayer to God our Father for all of us:
Dear Heavenly Father, our Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth, who hast displayed Thy splendor above the heavens! Give ear to my words O Lord, consider my groaning, heed the sound of my cry for help for Thy people who are left upon the earth. Hear me my King and my God, for to Thee I do pray.
Father God, I pray for every human heart, that you help us to love and care for one another as you have loved and cared for us. Please open our hard hearts to healing and reconciliation, help us to forgive one another, help us to have Your love, compassion, and mercy for one another. Help us to build one another up, give us eyes to see others as Your loving eyes see them. Please help us to be better servants to You and to our brothers and sisters. For me personally, I pray for forgiveness from those who I have sinned against, please comfort their hearts, heal them and fill them with Your compassion, love and mercy. Strengthen and comfort us and help us to endure the trials and tribulations that lay before us.
God in Heaven, help us to focus on You. Please help us to renew our minds with Your word and create in us a clean heart. We are totally unworthy, insufficient, and unable in ourselves, yet, use us for Your glory. Let us bring joy to Your heart and honor to Your name. Help us to use the holy authority of the name of Jesus Christ, the victory of His cross, the power of His blood. I pray for the unsaved that their eyes be opened and they be turned from darkness to light and form the power of Satan to God. I pray every face be radiant with happiness and every eye glow with warmth and love.
Almighty God, I pray everyone focus on You as God the Father, Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in all truth. You are able to do immeasurably more than all I could ever ask or imagine. Please do not forsake us. Praise God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.
All who are on Death Row, or in prison, whether they know Jesus Christ or not, need to feel your compassion, they need to see you are motivated by love for them. A prison should be a place for the sick and disturbed soul. If you heal the soul, you heal the man. If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of these human beings, your communities, and this nation, then get involved, save a life, save a soul. To work towards the abolishment of capital punishment, contact the coordinator of this website for details on how you can help. I love you, and for all who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I will see you again soon. May God bless you.
(Note: The Jericho Road is the road Jesus walked going into Jerusalem knowing His execution lay at its end. In addition, this article is flavored with words and sentences from the Bible and from various people who have loved me and blessed me over the years.)
I'M OUTTA HERE!!! See Ya!
Michael Sharp was executed by the State of Texas, November 19, 1997.