Jeffrey Wright considered himself to be a good-hearted person, but anger issues and an addiction to alcohol caused him to end up in a messy court case. Wrongly accused, he was put in jail where suicide was at the forefront of his mind.
"My whole existence, as I knew it, came to a stop. I had so much pain and anger inside. I wanted to take my own life."
Jeff's negative lifestyle took root when he was younger. He says that while he was brought up in a Christian home and knew about God, he did not give Him much time. "I never noticed God's wonders as I wasted all my time enjoying life with friends," he explains. "I never appreciated my family and took everything for granted. I hurt people as I was on a very destructive path."
After a weekend of drinking with friends and surviving a car accident on the way home, Jeff had a big fight with his now ex-girlfriend. "I got so angry that I told her to leave," he says. "I threw her out on the streets. But since she was under eighteen and due to my behaviour, her mom opened a rape case against me."
Jeff was sentenced to 12 years in prison, of which he has now served half. He did not know it then, but being behind bars was God's way of saving him from an inevitable death.
His dad came to visit him in prison and gave him a Bible. As Jeff read it and prayed, he remembered being taught at a young age to trust in God.
"I realised that God had big plans for my life," Jeff says, "And that I would only know them if Jesus became a part of my life."
So, Jeff prayed: "God, I come before you as a sinner. I give my life to you. I give you all control and power. Please take over."
Ever since then, God has played a big part in Jeff's life.
"God set me free from all my sins," he proclaims. "I am a new person. God is alive! He kept me safe in prison all these years. He helped me overcome my addictions. He took away a lot of my anger and I am able to forgive. I'm now free (emotionally and spiritually) and get to enjoy life."
To others who have not yet made the commitment to follow Jesus, Jeff says these encouraging words, "God is alive. Jesus is alive. Go before Jesus, confess your sins and allow yourself to get the most out of life and allow God to give you a fulfilling life."
Jeff loves to read the Psalms in the Bible. One of his favourite chapters is Psalm 51 which starts: "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."
"I am a living testimony of God's wonders," Jeff smiles. "God took my hand and held it tight and took me with Him all the way. I realise the reality of God's love, mercy and grace in my life. He's alive and I would like people to know that God is doing wonders in our lives everyday even if we can't see it right now. We will just keep on believing, keep on praying. It's all we need."•