No one is innocent

Manuapule Padi
Manuapule Padi knows that we are all guilty of doing wrong things.

On September 13, 2013, following a surprise and unwelcome visit from the police two years earlier, Manuapule Padi was wrongly convicted of rape, kidnap, and theft and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

He had been watching television with his girlfriend on a Saturday morning like any other when his father and some police officers knocked on his door and asked him to tell them the truth about what he had done at the village.

Manuapule had no idea what they were talking about.

He was not guilty of these crimes. But he was guilty of others.

Growing up with uneducated alcoholic parents he describes as "semi-Christians", who only opened the Bible at church, Manuapule felt a lot of envy and resentment, in particular towards whites.

Not only did white people have good food to eat and expensive clothes to wear, he had heard how cruel they had been to his parents and grandparents during the apartheid era.

That anger led to stealing; clothes, meat, bicycles, alcohol and cigarettes to feed his growing addictions.

His resentment and anger only multiplied as Manuapule sat in a jail cell for a crime he did not commit, and multiplied further when he was forced to go to church by the prison officials.

But something unexpected happened. "That Sunday I went to the altar call and received Jesus in my life," he says.

"I felt alone and oppressed and I realised that I needed Jesus as my Lord and Savior to forgive my sins."

Thoug h innocent of the things he had been accused of, Manuapule says he knew he was guilty of other crimes. That day he experienced freedom and relief by accepting Jesus' forgiveness for the things he had done wrong.

"I saw that I was a sinner who needed Jesus, not just wanted Him but needed Him, to forgive my sins," he explains.

He quotes the book of John in the Bible, chapter 1 verse 12, which says: "Yet to all who did receive Him [Jesus], to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God".

Manuapule knows he is a child of God because he declared with his mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believes in his heart God raised Him from the dead, as it says in Romans 10:9.

He says he has found joy in worshipping (singing songs of praise and adoration) to God. "I previously hated gospel music but today I can't miss gospel on all sorts of media," he says.

"When I worship God using Christ's name, it makes me feel so good inside!

"Life in full begins in Jesus," he declares.

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