What I Want My Words To Do To You

“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

I just finished watching a prison documentary film called “What I Want My Words To Do To You”… it’s about a maximum security prison for female criminals where a creative writing workshop was held and the writings that came out of the female inmates’ souls. There’s some powerful stuff here. I was touched by the following essay by Cynthia Berry, as she writes a letter to her mom…

Dear mom, I know you believe it was my heartaches and pain
  that caused me to do drugs and prostitute.
Mom, it was easy for me to use the pain to do all the things I did.
Thinking of the sweat of my uncle on my face as he molested me
  made it easy for me to believe I was a whore,
  and that the only way to even the pain was to make men literally pay.
I never grew up until it was too late,
  and when I did, it was in a court room,
  learning the truth of what I had allowed myself to believe,
  and a man now was dead.
Another sick male who thought pussy was a drug of life.
Now after this man is dead, by my hands,
  I see a father, a grandfather, and some woman in a wheelchair’s son.
I remember stabbing him three times.
A forensic report says I stabbed this man twenty-eight times in his throat.
Only three wounds were fatal, which leaves me the horror of
  did I continue to stab a dead man?
Everything I do, every thought I make is based on my victim.
I live for my victim, and I feel the only justice to his death
  is when God takes for me what I took from him, which is life.
For every day I think I killed a seventy-one year-old man.
A man who can not truly harm me.
A man who in one minute saw and received all my anger
  and lost what was not mine to take, his life.
He should not be dead.
He was not the one who I was angry at.
He was not the one I was killing.
I didn’t see him, I saw everyone who ever harmed me.
My mother, my uncle, every man that has kicked me in the heart.
Mom, the truth is I’m guilty of my refusal to face self.
Not grow out of the walls of my pain.
There are days I wish my number could punch up in God’s computer
  so I can stop the blood stain on my hand and in my heart
  and I can stop being haunted every day I live.
Love, your God given daughter, Cynthia.

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2 thoughts on “What I Want My Words To Do To You

  1. You entry just reminded me of what I have recently thought about. From various places (including the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7), the Bible is showing us that everyone is just similar to Cynthia. In fact, after our community ESL class this evening, we have a mini-lecture for our students and we have used Romans 3:9-20. Especially important is Romans 3:19. Since we are all under the law, everyone is guilty (Rom 3:10). What makes the difference between us and Cynthia is just the protection of God such that we don’t really carry out anger to its logical conclusion, i.e. physical killing (1 John 3:15, Matthew 5:21). In this way, we are really experiencing God’s grace every single moment in our life. We can be Cynthia and we are capable of being her.

    However, now, and I am assuming Cynthia seems to be a believer (since her writing does not make it very clear what “God” is….) in Christ, then all believers and her are again one and the same for we are in Christ experiencing daily the grace that comes through Him. Our duty, thus, is to live for our Victim, Christ, who has died for our anger and ous iniquities.

  2. Maranatha,

    From the film, it doesn’t say whether Cynthia is a believer or not, but I admire the way she finally was able to deal with her sins. Supposedly, she was only able to deal with this after 20 years of imprisonment. The writing class allowed many of the inmates to finally put into words what they’ve been feeling but never courageous enough to say.

    BTW, I like your change of the lowercase “victim” into the uppercase “Victim”…

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