21 years ago, Matthew Charles lived a life full of crime and sin.
As a result, he was arrested and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
But while in prison, an incredible transformation took place.
It all happened because of one simple act by a fellow inmate.
As it turns out, a former inmate left a Bible — and Matthew Charles started reading it.
The power of the Bible did not disappoint and changed Matthew Charles’ life forever.
Believing in the truth of Jesus, Charles became a Christian and this foundation gave him the courage to endure and overcome the unthinkable when his faith was ultimately put to the test.
Once Matthew Charles became a Christian, he did not take his newfound faith for granted. In fact, he actually ended up leading both of his parents to Christ!
“I was able to speak about the Christian experience with my father and to my mother, and to my knowledge, they both accepted Christ as their personal savior,” said Matthew Charles.
And while in prison, he wanted to share the hope and faith he found in Jesus with his fellow inmates.
According to Nashville Public Radio, Charles “kept the secrets of those who were illiterate so they wouldn’t face ridicule or harassment — he read them letters from the court and drafted filings for them in the library. He organized bible studies and counseled newcomers. Two decades in federal institutions — from maximum to low security — without a single disciplinary infraction.”
Charles’ actions line up with his Christian faith, he was truly a changed man, and admits if he hadn’t been to prison, he may not have become a Christian.
And then a miracle happened.
After 21-years of serving his prison sentence, Matthew Charles was released due to a change in the drug laws.
It seemed the tide had turned, and Matthew Charles began to live his life as a free man. Outside the prison walls, he continued to volunteer his time helping others, began dating, and had the blessing of reconnecting with his family.
But then, after two years of freedom, the unthinkable happened.
The courts suddenly stated he was released due to an “error” and ordered him back to prison! Both political parties rallied together and advocated for Charles, but despite being a free man his life was taken from him yet again, and he was sent back to prison.
Matthew Charles could have cursed God or lost his faith. After all, he was a changed man so this shouldn’t have happened, right?
But instead, Charles stood true to his faith and believed God would help him.
And after 7 months of his 2nd prison sentence, his prayer was granted. President Trump signed the First Step Act into law which changed mandatory drug sentencing. This historic piece of legislation ultimately led to Charles’ freedom… for good this time!
Faith Wire continues:
“I’d be the first to admit I was a bad guy, I was a horrible guy. My record reflected that,” he said. “But something happened to me — I became saved — and because I became saved, it changed me physically, mentally and spiritually. It allowed me to have a whole different outlook on life.”
Matthew Charles has an amazing testimony. His life “before Christ” reveals one of darkness and sin. His transformation shows how the power of God can change lives. And not keeping his faith a secret, Charles used his faith to help set others free.
And when his faith was tested, having experienced a taste of freedom and having it snatched back, he didn’t curse God. Instead, he kept the faith.
So many of us experience trials in life and are quick to curse God.
But the story of Matthew Charles reminds us about the importance of trusting in God’s sovereignty and remaining faithful even if we don’t understand what God is doing.
As Christians we must remember God is good and just. His ways are not our ways.
Matthew Charles has shown the world he can praise God, whether inside the prison or out. Let’s continue to pray for Matthew Charles that he may continue to rebuild his life.
In addition, let us praise God for being faithful and orchestrating the events which helped lead up to Matthew Charles’ freedom!
What part of Matthew Charles’ story do you find to be the most amazing? Do you agree that he should live his life as a free man?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article with your friends and family and show them the incredible testimony of Matthew Charles!