A few years ago my identity was stolen. A guy got ahold of my wallet. It had all my college graduation money, a few credit cards, my ID cards, and a few sentimental things.
I didn’t realize my wallet was missing until the next morning when I was getting alerts from banks of fraud alert. Tom (not his real name) decided to take my wallet and go on shopping sprees. He bought a bunch of stuff all in one night! Two big-screen TVs. Over 100 gallons of fuel, and a plethora of other things at the shopping center racking up several thousands of dollars overnight from my accounts.
I filed a police report, and we kept one of the cards active to catch him the next time he used it. An officer caught him about a mile from my house buying a few more pairs of sweet air force 1’s. He was caught and arrested. He was charged with 4 counts of aggravated identity theft and was facing 7 years in Prison. As his court date approached, I got a call asking if I would like to attend his hearing. I prayed about it and felt like I should go.
When I walked into the courtroom it was just him, his lawyer, the prosecutor, the officer, and the judge. The judge sentenced him to 7 years in prison. He then asked me if I wanted to say anything to Tom. I made eye contact with him for the first time. I prayed and asked God to help me with my words.
I told him:
“Tom, you robbed me and my identity was stolen. But more importantly, my identity wasn’t the only one stolen. So was yours, somewhere along the way. I don’t believe you dreamt of being charged with aggravated identity theft as a kid. I don’t believe you dreamed of spending time locked up because you made a bad decision. I challenge you to think about who you are. What are the dreams you had when you were younger and what you aspired to be? My hope is that you spend your time in prison dreaming and preparing yourself to be transformed into the man you hoped to be when you dreamed as a kid.”
Tom looked over at me with tears in these eyes and said, “Thank you for coming today. No one has ever cared enough about me to come to any of my court dates. I’m sorry I made such a stupid decision and I will always remember you coming here.” He nodded a gesture of respect towards me and I looked back at him in love and he was ushered out of the courtroom with the guard.
I believe Jesus wants to remind some of us today about our identity in Him and some dreams we have had in our hearts since we were kids. I believe God wants to restore some things deep in our hearts.