Opening Prison Doors

When Starr Daily was eight years old, he stood in front of his class to recite an assignment. The sad little boy had no mother at home—she had died when he was born. And that day, when he stood in front of the class to recite, he forgot one of his lines. The children began to snicker and then, to laugh. And when Starr looked at his teacher for reassurance and affirmation, he was horrified to see that she, too, was laughing at him.

Crushed, devastated, betrayed, and filled with hatred toward the world, Starr left school and became one of the most notorious criminals of his time. A brilliant thief. A skilled safecracker.

Starr had two great fears: death and being closed into a small space. And when he was finally caught, he had to face both fears. The jailers shackled his wrists and hung him on a wall, beating and torturing him for fifteen days before they finally cut him down and left him on the floor of the cage to die.

As he lay bloody, starved, filled with hatred, and dying on the cold concrete floor, Jesus Christ walked into Starr’s room.

In the words of one biographer, “As Starr looked upon the apparition of Christ he became aware that never in his life had he ever seen such love as shone from those eyes. They drew the hate out of him just as poison is drawn out of an infected wound. He was in bliss, in ecstasy, in glory. He hoped that moment would never pass. When it did, something remained that he could never lose.”

That’s the grace of Christ that’s born out of His great love for us—that He walks into our prisons and sets us free! Barrabas. The thief on the cross. Saul on the road to Tarsus. Me from my pit of depression, despair, sin, self-hatred, self-rejection, self-flagellation, and idolatry. 

One of the great truths that I’ve clung to on my journey out of my own prison of sin is a favorite saying of my evangelist friend, John Hobbs:

There’s nothing you can do to make God love you one ounce more and there’s nothing you can do that could make God love you one ounce less. He just loves you.

And that’s grace. Not that I’ve earned it, but that He loves me anyway. He loved me enough to die for me and He loves me enough to set me free every day of my life that I’m willing to let Him.

If there’s one thing you carry away with you today, let it be this one truth that bears repeating:

There’s nothing you can do to make God love you one ounce more and there’s nothing you can do that could make God love you one ounce less. He just loves you.

Are you a regular reader? Does this post sound familiar? Yes, it’s a repost from spring 2010. I just couldn’t get it out of my mind today. I needed to hear this today. I hope it blessed you.

About Sarah Salter


  1. So interesting that I clicked on the URL in your tweet as I was making cross pendants. This is a very effectively written blog post that is to the point and reveals a simple truth that’s bigger than any of us and even bigger than our universe.

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Kerri, I’m glad you liked it! This is one of the most impactful stories that I heard in my childhood. It keeps coming back to me. And when it does, I have to share it.

  3. 🙂 (that’s all)

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Nick, 🙂 back.

  5. Powerful words indeed, dear Sarah!
    His love reaches out to snatch us from despair if we are finally able to open our eyes.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    That was a wonderful story you shared about the Love Of God. His love does surpass our comprehension and yes, His love is for all. 🙂 Glory To God.

Speak Your Mind