by The Mad Preacher Rod Davis
NOTE: Henry Hill, was a New York City mobster. Between 1955 and 1980, Hill was associated with the Lucchese crime family. In 1980, Hill became an FBI informant and his testimony helped secure fifty convictions, including that of mob capo (captain) Paul Vario and James Burke on multiple charges. Hill’s life story was documented in the true crime book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. Wiseguy was subsequently adapted by Martin Scorsese into the critically acclaimed film GoodFellas, in which Hill was portrayed by Ray Liotta.1 He passed away on June 12, 2012
Henry and I became acquainted with one another through email. For several months I talked him about Jesus and he responded often asking questions. He became was ill for a while and his girlfriend, Lisa, responded to my emails with updates about his condition. In one email she told me that Henry trusted me. That was rare for him, she said.
At the time I was the chaplain for a Christian Radio Station and he would call me “Chapy”. He told me that’s what they call the prison chaplain. This was the last email I sent to Henry. He didn’t respond. I believe the reason is that the Holy Spirit was dealing with him and the conversation got a little too hot for him. So he bailed. I prayed for Henry over the years until I heard of his death. I was very saddened. I hope he was ready.
Hello my friend!
How are you? I pray for you often, Henry. I know from personal experience what it’s like to feel dirty and sinful, but I also know what it’s like to be forgiven and the wonderful sense of cleanliness and peace I now feel. I’m constantly overwhelmed and brought to tears when I consider what Jesus did for me. The friendship that He offers is free to all those who will call out to Him in repentance and faith. I just wanted to share that with you
I saw you on TV the other night. You looked good. You looked well. I pray that you are well, my friend. I was touched by your comments about not being proud of your past, but rather, you’re proud of what you are now. That’s good, buddy. I’m proud of you too.
However, may I make an observation? You see, Henry, simply reforming yourself and trying to do the right thing may make one a model citizen but it doesn’t erase sin. It doesn’t change the past with God. In fact, there is nothing that we can do for ourselves that will change our sinful condition. It takes something outside us. It takes more then the good works that we try to offer God. We personally can’t make amends to God for our past.
Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Henry, the best right living that we can offer Holy God is compared to something filthy and disgusting. Therefore, God is not impressed with how much we reform ourselves, nor is He impressed by the good works we do. Something else gets his attention, and that something else is surrendering to His Son, Jesus, and accepting His sacrifice for our sins.
I love you, Henry, and I wouldn’t offend you for the world, but I’m your friend and friends should be honest with one another. Indeed, true friends depend on one another to cut through the bull and get to the truth. Jesus stated that knowing the truth will “set you free.” (John 8:32) So, I try to be honest with people that I love, and I try to do so without being offensive. One day someone spoke truth to me, Henry. He told me about Jesus, how I could be born again and made brand new. Because of his boldness that day I was set free! So, please, don’t be offended at me when I do the same with you. I’m just trying to be your friend, Henry. I would expect the same honesty from you.
David Berkowitz2 is another friend of mine. We manage to stay in touch via letters. You may remember him as “The Son of Sam.” Well, now, he now calls himself “The Son of Hope” because David gave his life to Jesus many years ago. I told him that you and I were friends and asked him to pray for you. He sent you a message in his last letter that reads, “Please give Henry my regards and let him know that I’m praying for him. If God can forgive me, He can and will forgive anyone if they are willing to repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ. It was the best and most important decision I ever made.”
Henry, David and I want you to experience what we, and millions of others, have experienced. We want you to know the same truth that David so elegantly expressed. “If God can forgive me, He can and will forgive anyone…” It’s so true! He will forgive anyone who calls on the name of Jesus, even someone like David Berkowitz who was a serial killer. He can and will save anyone who comes to Him―even an ex-Mafioso type like you. My desire and prayer for you is that you will find what David, I and millions of others have found—new life, peace, hope, and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ.
Look at God’s heart in this passage, Henry. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14) “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” —Jesus (Revelation 3:20)
Jesus is waiting for you, Henry, to cry out to Him in sincere repentance. In fact, even now He is reaching out to you, knocking on the door to your heart. Jesus wants you to open the door and invite Him in. Would you do that, Henry, right now? Is there any reason why you would not want to give your life to Him right now?
Please understand this, Henry. God’s not waiting for you to clean yourself up before you come to Him. That’s His job. Getting rid of sin and cleansing a guilty conscience is what God does best. After all, you don’t clean up in order to take a bath, do you? King David said “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:2) That’s what Jesus does, Henry, but you must give Him the go-ahead.
“He [Jesus] was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:10-13)
I love you, Henry, and I’m praying that you will give into the wooing of the Spirit of God, that you will open that door and invite Jesus into your life. Then, like my friend David Berkowitz, you too will say, “It was the best and most important decision I ever made.”
Your friend, Rod
1 Retrieved from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on 07-27015
2 David Richard Berkowitz (born Richard David Falco, June 1, 1953), also known as the Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer, is an American serial killer convicted of a series of shooting attacks that began in New York City in the summer of 1976. Perpetrated with a .44 caliber Bulldog revolver, he killed six victims and wounded seven others by July 1977. As the toll mounted, Berkowitz eluded a massive police manhunt while leaving brazen letters which mocked the police and promised further crimes. Highly publicized in the press, he terrorized New York and achieved worldwide notoriety. He was arrested by New York City police in August 1977, Berkowitz was indicted for eight shooting incidents. He confessed to all of them, and claimed to have been obeying the orders of a demon, manifested in the form of a dog (“Harvey”) who belonged to his neighbor (“Sam”). Retrieved from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on 07-27015