One sleepless night while shamelessly googling myself, I found my name in . . .
wait for it . . .
(Until then, I didn’t even know that was a thing.) And that’s not what I expected to find!
An excerpt of what I had written so long ago that I don’t even remember writing it is quoted in the entry for Velma Barfield, aka Death Row Granny. Here it is:
In 1978 Velma Barfield was arrested for murdering four people, including her mother and fiance. She was on death row, confined in a cell by herself. One night a prison guard tuned into a 24-hour Christian radio station.
Down the gray hall, desperate and alone in her cell, Velma listened to the gospel message and accepted Jesus as her Saviour. The outside world began to hear about Velma Barfield and how she had changed.
During the six years she was on death row she ministered to many of her cellmates. Many were touched by the sadness of her story and the sincerity of her love for Christ as well as the beauty of her Christian witness in that prison. Just before her execution, Velma wrote “I know the Lord will give me dying grace, just as He gave me saving grace, and has given me living grace.”
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” On earth Velma Barfield paid the price for her crimes. The hideous nature of sin is that while we can be forgiven them and freed from them, we, like Velma Barfield, must still face the consequences of our sins. At least until Christ returns, sin is here to stay.
Sin cannot be eradicated. And for being born into this world, each of us has a price to pay. This does not mean that we receive a death sentence the moment we are born. Although we cannot avoid the consequences of our sins, in Jesus we can overcome them. At the judgment hall, Jesus’ blood washes away our sins and clothes us in His righteousness. [Fylvia Fowler Kline is assistant director of the Stewardship Department for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists]*
*I left that position in 2001
Here is Barfield before her execution in 1984: