Meet Albert Innarelli
I was born on January 28th, 1958 in Springfield, Mass. to God-fearing parents. They taught my younger brother and me right from wrong. But knowing the difference between right and wrong, and being able to resist the temptation to do wrong, are two different things. And it's the latter that resulted in my doing five years of a six year federal prison sentence.
I was bitter about my prison sentence because I knew it was longer than I deserved. Because I was a professional, the judge wanted to make an example out of me, so he sentenced me to a term that was longer than the sentencing guidelines dictated. But instead of letting it get me down, I set out to use the time there to make myself a better person.
Being brought up Catholic, I believed that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins. But, I also believed, wrongly, that I had to be a good person and do good deeds in order to personally win His favor. It wasn't until I got involved in bible study at the prison and began fellowshipping with other Christians, that I learned that the Lord wanted to have a personal relationship with me. It was in prison that I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.
Through daily bible reading, especially the story of Joseph, I learned that what the judge and prosecutor in my case intended for evil, God intended for good. The growth that I experienced in my spiritual life would never have come about, had I not been incarcerated. There is a line from Pastor Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life", that resonates with me every day – "You never know that God is all you need, until God is all you've got". Jesus carried me then and he continues to carry me.
From my incarceration experience, I have learned that the struggle between choosing to do good or evil, yielding to my will or God's will, God's way or my way, cannot be won by human strength or will-power alone. Our enemy, the devil, conspires with the "world" and our "flesh", to draw us away from the peace, joy, and security which God provides for those who put their trust in him.
Updated: March 2017